Protect Your Assets – Your People

Kathy Rapp Analyst, Change, Change Management, Communication, Corporate America, COVID-19, Culture, Current Affairs, Good HR, HR, in the news, Influence, Job Market, Kathy Rapp, Layoffs, Leadership, Recruiting, Retention, Risks, Talent Strategy

How many of you are in your guest rooms/living rooms/patios “behind closed doors” working on a RIF spreadsheet? It’s a horrible exercise I’ve done too many times, and especially tough right now. With an unimaginable amount of uncertainty across most businesses, cost-savings levers are being pulled.

As part of looking for cost-savings, how much quantitative analysis is taking place? It’s easy to put low performers on a list, but how do you know when you’re about to cut into a vital artery?

Do you know who your critical talent is for the go-forward? What are you doing to ensure they are retained? Where else can you find savings or efficiency?

HR leaders need to pull in their data scientists and financial analysts and do a speedy review of ALL areas of the business that could provide cost-savings, not just headcount.


Because you want your business to be prepared for the other side of this – and frankly, you want to help it come out better. Better prepared for a digital transformation. Equipped for the new world of work. Ready with the talent you need to compete.

Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s CEO, has a growing business now. But workforce planning decisions still aren’t simple.

“Do we want to be more conservative than we initially planned this year or do we want to be more aggressive because we’re going to be in a good competitive position for recruiting?”

Due to the current conditions, we may assume fewer people will leave their current jobs; therefore, it could be harder to recruit and bring on needed talent as people aren’t open to taking a risk.

But there will always be companies courting your highly skilled and in-demand talent, especially if those employees just witnessed a bloodletting at their organization.

And <gasp> if it happened to their colleagues over Zoom!

If RIFs or furloughs are implemented too quickly or too deep, how prepared will your organization be once this crisis is under control?

This is the time you demonstrate your strategic chops. What actions have the most impact, short and long term? Are you thinking about geography and labor costs, real estate, HR programs, productivity, competition or how business goals will be met?

Software companies like Slack could see a positive impact due to COVID-19. “So many companies are actually in the early stages of digital transformation. Right now, most companies just have emails and meetings as tools to get work done, but they’re being pushed to find other ways to solve problems,” Butterfield added.

Other ways to solve problems.

Protect your assets. Those valuable people who will take a long time to replace. Push yourself to find other ways to solve problems by doing a holistic analysis. Stay safe and act responsibly.