How do I reduce staff in a crisis?

March 26, 2020
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How do I reduce staff in a crisis?

When there is a crisis, it’s easy to feel like you’ve lost control, because you have. You can go into crisis mode, firing up systems and pushing your fight or flight mode into overdrive. When that is your response, mayhem often ensues. What if, instead, you chose to act with intention rather than emotion, acting instead of reacting?

That’s easy to say. But the current situation requires that you cut down staff hours. Your staff members support you in your daily practice. You may have been together for years. You appreciate them and they are your colleagues and friends. On a good day, you’re desperate to hold onto them, and now, without an income source to pay them, you have no choice but to make adjustments to their hours.

Having no income is devastating. Having people who depend on you when your income source has been disrupted is even worse. If your practice is not operational, it’s unlikely you will be able to continue to pay your staff. We can’t tell you who should stay and who should go. But we do have some thoughts about how to minimize the emotional and financial damage for yourself and your staff members.

  1. When making decisions about staff changes, take into consideration seniority, job position and importance to the practice, average hours worked and performance.
  2. Discuss your plan with your partner, office manager, and with your advisors prior to announcing any changes to your staff. Let the staff members who are staying know that they are secure in their current and future employment. Try to allay any fears to stop rumors from flying.
  3. The conversation you need to have with the staff members is a difficult one. Prepare a written script explaining the plan and stick to the script. When you are discussing changes to employment status with your staff, make sure you communicate to them how much this saddens you, and how your plan is to reverse these changes as soon as you can.
  4. Put a timeline in place to review the proposed changes for effectiveness, and make sure to adhere to the timeline. If nothing has changed, make sure to communicate that to your staff members, along with a new date for the next review.
  5. Give suspended or terminated staff 2 weeks’ notice, since they need time to prepare for the changes to their lives and financial status.

The most important part is to reassure your staff that your intention is to get back to normal as soon as possible. That should be easy, because we know no one wants that more than you.



We’ll get you connected.