Rightsizing: 7 Tactical Tips for Managing a Team Through Change

More than just a positive spin on downsizing, rightsizing is its own distinct process of workforce management. And as such, there are plenty of distinct ways to succeed in – and really screw up – the rightsizing process.


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Below are seven tips to help managers managing a team through this unique type of organizational change.


1. Understand the organizational change.


The first step of managing a team through change is the hardest: understanding the rightsizing process so you can be the best source of information for your team. Take time to understand the ins and outs of the coming change. Spend time with your boss, and make sure you are equipped for the communicating you will have to do.


2. Inform quickly.


As intimidating as it seems, don’t be tempted by procrastination. Employees want to know company changes immediately, and as soon as you are cleared to tell them, you should. This will allow employees who are affected by the change to find other work, prepare for new responsibilities, or prepare their personal lives for a change.


3. Explain rightsizing.


Commonly confused with downsizing, rightsizing gets an undeserved bad rap. While both likely result in lay-offs, downsizing describes the huge swaths of firings that are featured on the news, usually the result of poor financial performance or mismanagement. Rightsizing, however, results in a relatively small amount of firings that keep the organization lean and consistent with strategic vision.


4. Explain why.


When you finally do communicate the rightsizing to your reports, explain why the change is happening; such explanation makes the rightsizing pill a little bit easier to swallow. Why is your organization making these changes? What problem does this solve for? Why now?


5. Communicate the implications.


The person losing his or her job is not the only employee affected by rightsizing. The change could affect management hierarchy, add workplace responsibilities, and affect the organization’s strategic vision. Make sure you explain everything this rightsizing effort will touch.


6. Answer questions.


Here’s why you took so much time to understand the organizational change – because your employees will ask questions. A lot of them. Answer what you can, thoroughly and timely. If there are questions you can’t answer, ensure your employees that you’ll find the answer by a given date.


7. Collect feedback.


Collect feedback regularly to assess how the change management process is going. Use a 360 feedback cycle or a pulse survey. Make sure to follow up on the actions your employees suggest.



As a manager, rightsizing isn’t the only type of organizational change you’ll have to communicate, and you’ll need to be prepared when you do – download our Change Management Templates.

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Published December 21, 2017 | Written By Christina Thompson