Can Human Resources be Evolutionary in the Grand Recession?

Recent economic realities have dramatically changed the conversations we have had with our Human Resources clients in the past few months.  Rather than inquiring about the latest recruitment methods or benefits strategies, our HR clients are asking us how to downsize with dignity. Downsizing, or “layoffs” are terms that strike fear into most employees and a sense of powerlessness for most HR teams. In fact, we dislike these words so much that the industry has created a euphemistic phrase to use instead: Reduction in Force. It sounds better, but the details remain all too clear – people are losing their jobs. And, it is easy to feel that there is no good way to deliver bad news.

photo credit: Newberg Area Schools

But during a recent downsizing at Climax Portable Machine Tools, the leadership would accept nothing less than a “wow” experience for layoff procedures. In our book Evolutionaries, we showcase the leadership of Climax CEO Geoff Gillmore, but this story is not about him. The Evolutionary in this story is actually Chief Culture Officer Joni George. I recently sat down with Joni to learn just how they did it. Joni challenged her team to create a layoff experience that not only shepherded employees though the entire experience – from notification to telling family, to filing for unemployment, to constructing new resumes and reference letters, but also served to create ambassadors” for Climax in the community.

Joni and Climax are redefining the layoff experience, taking care of their employees, their families and their transitions. It’s an amazing Evolutionary story. I guarantee you will be as amazed as I was when you hear the details – check out the podcast interview!

About Carmen Voillequé

CEO of Best Practices Media.
Co-Founder of Strategic Arts and Sciences.

Voillequé is a senior consultant and partner with Strategic Arts and Sciences and the CEO of Best Practice Media. Her background features deep experience in education, curriculum development, and management training. Voillequé works with a wide range of client groups including government agencies, financial institutions, and health care companies. Last year Voillequé completed a scope of work that allowed all of the public and private agencies who serve the needs of children in Oregon to plan and work together to maximize resources. She is also a sought after speaker and strategic planner with a reputation for tackling tough issues.