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Reduction in Force Training for Supervisors Reviewed July 2013 Presentation Subtitle/Description Presenter’s Name Date
©SHRM Introduction A downturn in the economy or in an employer’s specific type of business as well as internal business conditions may force an employer to consider making a reduction in staff (RIF). A RIF, as other types of involuntary terminations, may have a long- term effect on the remaining workforce and the success of the business. An employer considering a RIF needs to review alternatives to the staff reduction, identify the laws involved and decide how to communicate its decisions to employees and how to keep remaining staff motivated and productive. This sample presentation is intended for presentation to supervisors and other individuals who manage employees. It is designed to be presented by an individual who is knowledgeable in federal and state employment laws and has experience implementing a reduction in force. This is a sample presentation that must be customized to comply with state and federal laws and the employer’s own policies and practices.
©SHRM Objectives At the end of this session you will be able to: List alternatives to a reduction in force (RIF). Cite the employment laws that may be involved. List issues involved in a RIF and criteria that may be used in selecting employees for the RIF. Describe how to conduct a RIF meeting. Discuss issues and strategy for managing employees remaining after a RIF.
©SHRM Alternatives to a RIF Alternatives to a reduction in force include: Improving internal processes. Hiring freeze. Reducing or freezing compensation. Curtailing overtime. Shorter work weeks or reduced work hours. Job sharing. Increasing employees’ share of benefit costs. Cutting perks. Early retirement programs. Reducing advertising costs.
©SHRM Employment Laws That May Be Involved in a RIF WARN protects workers, their families and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs. A covered plant closing occurs when a facility/operating unit is shut down for more than six months OR when 50 or more employees lose their jobs during any 30 ‑ day period at a single site of employment. A covered mass layoff occurs when a layoff of six months or longer affects either 500 or more workers OR at least 33% of the employer's workforce when the layoff affects between 50 and 499 workers. (Source: Department of Labor) The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)
©SHRM Employment Laws That May Be Involved in a RIF (cont’d) Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of age. National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of union activities. State laws: many states have additional anti-discrimination laws (e.g., sexual orientation). Non-Discrimination Laws
©SHRM Employment Laws That May Be Involved in a RIF (cont’d) Amends the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) changing the rules for age discrimination releases by setting strict criteria for release of both protected rights (a release before a claim is filed) and disputed claims (releases in settlement of EEOC charges or lawsuits). Requires employers to provide affected employees over 40 with demographic details of individuals considered and affected by a group RIF. The Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)
©SHRM Questions? Comments?
©SHRM Issues Involved in a RIF The Financial Goal For example, reducing human capital costs by a percentage or dollar amount. The Scope of the RIF Are all employees at all locations and levels considered in this RIF? Is the RIF localized to one or more plants, divisions, job categories? Do NOT use a RIF as a means to get rid of staff for reasons other than the established selection criteria.
©SHRM Issues Involved in a RIF (cont’d) It can be illegal retaliation to consider prior: > Harassment/discrimination complaints made by employees. > FMLA leave requests. > WC claims. > OSHA complaints. > Wage and hour complaints. > Union grievances. Use statistical workforce analysis to determine if there is disparate impact against age. Use this analysis for race and other minority status as well. Legal counsel should review all decision-making criteria and documentation to reduce liability.
©SHRM Criteria for Selecting Employees for a RIF Determine which employees within job categories will be affected by the RIF and who will be retained or offered other positions within the organization. Consider how subjective the criteria is and how to document meeting the criteria. Some common selection criteria: Location. Job categories. Type of employment (contingent or part-time). Seniority. Skill set. Merit (documented performance history). Prior disciplinary actions. Project or client assignments. Multiple criteria.
©SHRM Questions? Comments?
©SHRM Conducting a RIF Meeting Develop a communication plan: Who is responsible for communication? Who is attending? (don’t forget employees on leave) What is the key message? When should it be delivered? How will it be conveyed?
©SHRM Conducting a RIF Meeting (cont’d) Planning the Actual Meeting: Reserve a private meeting place. Decide how employees will collect personal items and exit building, as well as security issues such as building and computer access and passwords (have alternative for emotionally charged employees to leave first and collect items later). Speak softly and with genuine concern. Have tissue in the room. Be respectful and respect the questions. Prepare answers for the common questions: > Why was my position chosen? > Why me and not XXX? > Who else is being let go? > Am I the only one in my department? > Who is going to do all my work when I am gone?
©SHRM Conducting the RIF Meeting (cont’d) A Role-Playing Exercise Groups of three. Each person takes a turn being the Communicator, Employee and Observer. Communicator Role: communicate the RIF decision as discussed in this training to the employee. Employee Role (the affected employee): The more realistic (but not over the top) you can be, the better prepared you and your co-workers will feel after this exercise. Observer Role: observe how the communicator handles the meeting and provide professional and constructive feedback afterward. Feedback should include: 1. Was the message presented respectfully but clearly? 2. How did the communicator handle the employee’s response? 3. Other comments on strengths or areas for improvement. (Allow 5-6 minutes per role play) ROLE-PLAY EXERCISE (takes minutes)
©SHRM Questions? Comments?
©SHRM Issues and Actions after a RIF Employees remaining after the reduction in force may: Be nervous and uncertain. Talk with co-workers about their concerns (i.e., not as productive). Discuss worst-case scenarios. Pass along rumors and speculation. Start to see co-workers as potential competition for jobs.
©SHRM Issues and Actions after a RIF (cont’d) Communicate often and openly. Conduct individual employee meetings: > Discuss their value to management and the organization. > Answer questions. > Ask for feedback on how to improve. > Reassure, reassure, reassure…but don’t mislead or over-promise. Conduct regular departmental and all-staff meetings. Acknowledge and recognize the extra effort and hard work of survivors.
©SHRM Issues and Actions after a RIF (cont’d) Provide training, resources and time to succeed: Eliminate unnecessary or low-value processes/products/services from job duties. Provide training in new skills, knowledge and/or abilities to take on new job duties and responsibilities. Help prioritize tasks and projects. Provide and solicit daily/regular feedback.
©SHRM Questions? Comments?
©SHRM Summary There are numerous alternatives to consider before making a reduction in force, including a hiring freeze, shortening the workweek or reducing hours, and cutting benefits programs. Various federal and state employment laws may be involved, including WARN and non-discrimination laws. Determining the financial goal and scope of the RIF as well as the selection criteria are important issues that require planning and preparation.
©SHRM Summary (cont’d) Planning for a RIF meeting includes deciding who will conduct the meeting, the physical location, security concerns and preparing to address concerns and questions. Issues and actions afterwards include the reactions of employees, such as nervousness and uncertainty, engaging in discussions of worst case scenarios and negative speculation. It is important to communicate often and openly answering questions, asking for feedback and providing praise, training, resources and time for the remaining employees to succeed.
©SHRM Course Evaluation Please be sure to complete and leave the evaluation sheet you received with your handouts. Thank you for your attention and interest!
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