Motivational Methods Paper

Employee Motivation Following Downsizing

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Downsizing, also called rightsizing or laying off means that the end result is less resources especially human resource as compared to before (Sayed, Z., 2013). The fewer resources are expected to perform the same amount of work or even more compared to the previous group. Downsizing is implemented by the top management with the main objective of improving the productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of an organization. Downsizing occurs because of different reasons. One big cause of rightsizing is financial difficulties within an organization (Sayed, Z., 2013).

Employee Reaction Following Downsizing

There are several reactions from the employees following a downsizing. Some employees will feel bad that they have lost their colleagues in unfair circumstances and blame the managers for the same. They might also feel insecure with their jobs. Some employees, however, may get excited with the increasing amount of work to challenge themselves. The excitement, however, may disappear with time due to increasing work pressure and as time goes, these employees get tired and irritable and end up making mistakes and overall result is less productivity (Schiro, J., et al, 2009).

Management Side

The company’s top management is responsible for downsizing and the approach towards the process the affect the survivors (Linton, J., 2017)(the employees who remain) either positively or negatively. Some managers just go quiet because the situation is hard to explain and it would rather get forgotten with time. Others will tell the survivors that they are lucky and that they should be excited with the increasing workload to challenge themselves more. While this may be true, it might instill fear on the employees, making them overwork themselves in silence due to fear of being terminated.

What Should the Managers Do?

Sometimes downsizing becomes inevitable depending on the financial situation of an organization is in. It has happened severally to several different companies. The managers should realize that it is an exercise that can happened to organization even though it is not always anticipated. It is not a crime. Managers should also realize that the victims are equally humans who have feelings but they can understand if explained to. As much as it hurts to lose a job, it is even worse when you are just terminated without knowing the reasons behind. Both the victims and the survivors get negatively impacted. Managers should device best ways of downsizing for the victims to leave satisfied as well as boost the morale and motivation of the survivors. Effective management of downsizing brings good economic results (Oliver W., 2011).

Express Sincere Empathy

As stated earlier, managers behave differently during a downsize and this will determine the reaction of the remaining employees and their attitude towards the managers and the work. Downsizing in most cases demotivates the survivors. It is upon the manager to show that even them wouldn’t have wanted for it to occur but it was unavoidable. They should sympathize with those who lost their jobs and show concern to the remaining due to the huge amount of work ahead of them. It is time to help the victims find other jobs (Mishra, K. et al, 1998) for example, through offering career counseling. This is the time to let the employees express their concerns and emotions and it gives appropriate time to talk about everything and reach to a good understanding. One on one conversation is quite important. If this is not carried out, the employees will just spread rumors about the downsizing and some will end up hating their work and their managers.

Herzberg’s Hygiene model also called Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory attempts to answer the big question ‘How do you motivate employees?’. His model has two goals directed to the management: elimination of the factors causing dissatisfaction and creating conditions that bring about job satisfaction. He talks about fixing poor company policies, creating a culture that promotes dignity and respect for all and providing effective and supportive supervision among others.

Recognize the Impact of Downsizing

The managers should show that they understand the consequences of downsizing. They should let the remaining employees know that they are ready to help where possible with the increasing workload. They should show that they are ready to prioritize anything that come with the changes to make life of the remaining employees better. Any unnecessary pressure should be eliminated. By doing these, the employees will feel that they are being taken care of and nobody is out to overwork them after downsizing. They will feel motivated to continue working and free to express themselves whenever they feel pressured.

McGregor’s Theory X, Theory Y Model sites two type of managers and management skills. Most managers use theory X and mostly bring about poor results because they believe that people dislike work and therefore they should be pushed. Theory Y managers on the other hand end up with good results. They believe in their employees, making them work freely. The employees will love their work, look forward fro challenging opportunities, thereby growing the organization.

Focus on Positive Outcomes

Downsizing can be seen as a blow to an organization and may demotivate the survivors. However, this should not be the case and the managers should be ready to explain the positive prospects of the exercise. Explain the plans to improve the business competitiveness. Show the employees the possibility on hiring again after the business picks up and the chances of better opportunities for them in terms of promotions and better salary (Linton, J., 2017). This will make the employees work hard and focus on their work and even eliminate the fears of job insecurity. When the employees know what the goals are, they will work hard to achieve it. Maslow Hierarchy of Needs theory explains that people are motivated by their end goal and they will do their best to reach it.


Sayed, Z. (2013). The impact of downsizing on the remaining employees in the organization (Doctoral dissertation, University of the Western Cape).

Schiro, J. B., & Baker, R. L. (2009). Downsizing and organizational change survivors and victims: Mental health issues. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 7(1), 3.

Linton, J. (2017). Strategies to Support Survivors of Corporate Downsizing.

Oliver W. (2011). Managing the Organization Dynamics of Downsizing Oliver Wyman.

Mishra, K., Spreitzer, G. & Mishra, A., (1998). Preserving employee morale during downsizing