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How Redeployment Can Help You Avoid Employee Layoffs and Decrease Costs

Layoffs can be a tough decision for any organization. While the reasons for layoffs are understandable, they can have legal, financial, and emotional implications for both employers and employees alike.

For companies, layoffs can mean decreased productivity, lost skills, and strain on existing employees. For employees, layoffs can cause financial distress, uncertainty about future career prospects, and negative effects on mental health. 

While it might seem like layoffs are the only feasible option during tough economic times, the reality is that they’re often a poor decision – a working paper by the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago found that just over 40% of the layoffs occurring during the COVID-19 crisis would be permanent, not temporary. 

So, is there a way to avoid layoffs while still achieving the necessary cost savings? The answer might surprise you, but it’s a resounding yes. It’s time to consider redeployment – and here’s why. 

What is Redeployment?

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Redeployment can help you keep your top talent employed and help you avoid layoffs. 

Redeployment refers to the process of reassigning employees who have lost their roles or will be losing them soon due to downsizing or restructuring. 

The reality is that layoffs hurt companies. Redeployment can help. Instead of letting go of these valuable team members, you redeploy them in another part of your organization where their skills and expertise are needed.

In this way, you reduce the number of layoffs and retain employees that may have taken years to train, saving you time, and money and reducing the morale impact of too many redundancies. 

Redeployment is a valuable practice in managing human resources, and during a crisis, becomes even more so, enabling your business to be agile and maintain continuity.

Apart from the immediate benefit of retaining talented employees, there are many other reasons why redeployment matters. It can help your business stay competitive by acquiring new skills, maintaining effective team dynamics, and reducing long-term recruitment costs. 

It can also accelerate the process of rebuilding your company’s morale and help to avoid creating internal power vacuums that can disrupt your company’s structure.

Most importantly, redeployment can provide your company with options when your market environment shifts. 

For example, if there is demand for one product over another, redeploying staff to support that product line makes sense. Or, if there is an urgent need for a new product, instead of recruiting and training new staff, you can redeploy existing team members who have the know-how to work on projects.

What Are the Benefits of Redeployment?

Change is inevitable, especially in the world of work. Whether due to mergers, acquisitions, or restructuring, redeployment has become a buzzword in most organizations. 

While it may sound unsettling for some employees, the benefits of redeployment are immense. 

Upgraded Skills and Expertise

In most cases, redeployment leads to changes in job roles and responsibilities. As such, employees are given an opportunity to acquire new skills, knowledge, and expertise that can be vital for career development. 

This not only improves the employee’s competencies but also benefits the organization as it has employees with broader and diversified skills to avoid layoffs.

Employee Retention

Redeploying employees before they become redundant can greatly improve employee retention. Employees with specific skills may feel underutilized when their current positions change, leading to demotivation and even quitting. 

However, when organizations implement redeployment policies that focus on their future needs, employees feel valued and more engaged, leading to more loyalty and a reduced employee turnover rate.

Enhanced Productivity

Redeployment can lead to a more efficient and productive workforce. When employees are moved to areas where they have the skills and competencies required to thrive, they are in a better position to make high-quality contributions that increase productivity. 

This results in a streamlined workplace, with employees who are productive, engaged, and using their skills effectively.

Reduced Recruitment Costs

Re-deploying staff is often a cost-effective way of resourcing when compared to recruiting new personnel to fill a position. Organizations can significantly cut recruitment and training costs, which can save a company thousands of dollars and, in turn, increase profitability.

Improved Corporate Image

Redeployment helps companies adapt to changing circumstances and demonstrates their commitment to treating employees fairly. 

The process of redeployment also showcases the organization’s robust human resource management practices, which can improve staff morale and attract the high-level talents required to drive growth.

How Does Redeployment Work?

Here’s how to make redeployment work for your business.

Identify Surplus and Shortage Areas

Redeployment begins with identifying areas where employees are not needed and where there is a shortage of skills and competencies. This can be done by analyzing production output, identifying high-demand positions, and forecasting future hiring needs. 

Once surplus and shortage areas are identified, companies can more effectively move employees around the organization.

Notify and Educate Employees About Their Redeployment

When employees are notified of their redeployment, it is important to educate them about their new role, responsibilities, and expectations. 

Employees should also be informed about the benefits and challenges of working in a new position. Communication is key, and employees will feel more secure in their jobs once they have been fully informed.

Identify Skills and Competencies Needed to Fill Shortage Areas

Before an employee is moved to a new position, their skills and competencies need to be assessed to ensure they are a good fit for the job. If there is a skills gap, then retraining or retooling may be necessary to prepare the employee for the new role. 

By investing in employee development, companies can create a more skilled workforce.

Assess Employees for the Best Fit

Once employees are informed about the new role and have the required skills and competencies, they are assessed for their fit within the new department. This assessment can include factors such as personality, work ethic, and existing relationships. 

By placing employees in roles that suit both their interests and abilities, businesses can increase engagement and overall job satisfaction.

Provide Retraining and Retooling

Employees who need additional training or a change in skillset to transition to the new role should have access to retraining or retooling programs. Offering such programs can help businesses retain valuable employees, while also increasing productivity and efficiency.

Develop Systems to Assess and Place Candidates

Make sure there are systems and processes to regularly assess employees for potential redeployment opportunities. This can help businesses quickly respond to changing production demands and staffing needs. 

By developing a system that focuses on employee development and engagement, businesses can foster a more dynamic and efficient workforce.

Reward and Incentivize Managers for Redeployment

Encourage managers to lead redeployment efforts by providing appropriate rewards and incentives. These managers should be recognized for their efforts in re-aligning the workforce to ensure success in their respective departments. 

Providing rewards for managers who successfully deploy talent can encourage a culture of continuous redeployment and career advancement.

Create an Assessment Process

Measuring the effectiveness of redeployment efforts is critical to future success. 

Therefore, businesses should create an assessment process that measures the effectiveness of redeployment strategies. Some possible indicators that businesses can track may include production output, employee engagement, and cost savings.

Maintain a Flexible Workforce 

Maintaining a flexible workforce is important for long-term success. By continuing to assess employee skills and identifying areas of shortages and surpluses, businesses can remain agile and respond effectively to changes in production output or business needs.

What Do Employees Need During Redeployment?

While redeployment may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including restructuring, downsizing, or changes in business strategy, it can be a difficult time for employees who may be losing their current job or transitioning to a new role.

One of the most important aspects of redeployment is clear communication with employees. HR should communicate the reason for the change, what the new role entails, and how it will affect the employee’s career path. It’s vital to ensure that employees fully understand the reasons for the transition and what their options are. 

Clear communication will help build trust and confidence among employees, reduce misunderstandings, and mitigate any negative emotions that may arise during the redeployment process.

To help employees adjust to new roles, HR should provide training and development programs to ensure that they have the requisite skills to perform effectively. 

This training could include job-specific training, soft skills training, or professional development opportunities. This not only helps employees feel more confident and prepared but also benefits the organization by retaining critical talent and increasing productivity.

Finally, make sure you consider redeployment as an opportunity to advance an employee’s career path. The process of redeployment provides the organization with an opportunity to re-evaluate roles and responsibilities and identify career advancement opportunities within the organization. The HR team should work closely with management to create a development strategy that takes into account employees’ skills, knowledge, and capability. 

Employees who see the organization as a place for growth and career development are more likely to stay engaged and motivated.

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Make sure the needs of your HR team are met for a clear, smooth redeployment process. 

When Should Redeployment Be Avoided?

Despite its myriad benefits, redeployment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Employees may not be fit for certain roles, and it is not fair to force them into jobs they are not equipped to handle. 

For example, a sales representative may not be suited for an IT role, and the job may involve handling data, which may not be their forte. In such circumstances, it is best to avoid redeployment and offer them a severance package instead.

If the new role that an employee is being reassigned to involves a demotion in their grade, they may not be willing to accept it. Many employees have long-term career aspirations that may not match the role they are being reassigned. 

Despite this, companies may still go ahead with the redeployment, which can result in a demotivated workforce. Whenever possible, avoid redeployment in such cases.

Another critical factor to consider when redeployment is being contemplated is the salary that the employee will be receiving. If the job requires them to handle a much different role or is a significant reduction in profile, a fair salary must be offered. 

Making a significant cut in salary can lead to demotivation and discontentment, which affects not just the employee but also the team and company’s productivity.

Alternatives to Redeployment

It’s no secret that during times of financial difficulty, a company’s first response is often to lay off employees. While this may seem like the easiest solution, it is not always the best choice in the long run. But with that said, redeployment isn’t always the best option, either. The good news is that there are some alternatives.

One alternative to layoffs is to require managers to keep a fixed proportion (10%) of their staff “flexible” during times of decreased revenue. This means that companies can reduce team size and operate at an “undersized” number of hours worked. 

This method can also offer both team and individual productivity incentives. This way, employees are motivated to work harder and increase productivity.

Outsourcing is also an excellent way of avoiding layoffs. Companies can outsource key product components to vendors and scale down without the need to lay off. Outsourcing transactional or low-value “overhead” functions is also an option. This way, companies can focus on their core competencies while non-core activities are handled externally.

Building strategic partnerships with other firms and letting them do a portion of the “people-intensive” work is another alternative. This way, companies can combine resources and leverage each other’s strengths. This method also allows companies to avoid additional costs associated with training, recruiting, and retaining staff.

Finally, companies can also hire contractors for short-term needs. If there is a temporary increase in workload, companies can hire contractors for a specific project or period. This saves companies from committing to full-time employees when the workload may fluctuate.

Final Thoughts

While layoffs may seem like a quick fix to a company’s budget issues, the long-term impact of losing valuable employees cannot be overstated. 

Redeployment can occur in many different ways – and has many benefits for both employees and employers alike.

Regardless of what your financial situation might look like, it’s time to start considering this valuable tool in the fight against layoffs. Consider whether redeployment might work for you today!

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