Layoff: Workforce and Workload Planning

Anticipating budget cuts? Wondering how all the work is going to get done? Worried about having to lay off staff? Before making any decisions, answer the following questions about your department:

  • Have we determined our goals for this coming year? Do we know what we need to accomplish? Are our priorities clear?
  • Based on our priorities, have we structured the work in the most efficient, effective way possible? Are we doing work the way we always have, or are we looking at the work with new eyes?
  • As our department has become more automated, have we examined our procedures to see if any can be eliminated or streamlined?
  • What are the peaks and valleys of our workload? Are there times when a temporary layoff or a furlough could be implemented?
  • When a vacancy occurs, do we take the time to really assess our needs before filling the position? Can the position be filled in any other way? Can we use other options such as students, retirees, or temporary employees? Can we use the vacancy as a cross training opportunity for interested staff?
  • As managers, have we taken advantage of staffs' interest in flexible work arrangements and telecommuting to maximize individual productivity and over-crowded office space?
  • Have we asked staff if anyone wants to reduce their schedule? Has anyone who is eligible expressed interest in retirement?
  • Are we really getting benefits from all our subscriptions, publications, and memberships? Are there any that should be canceled?
  • Can we defer supply or equipment purchases? Can we defer any capital expansion plans?
  • Have we looked at the cost to reduce the use of outside consultants?
  • Can we say that we have considered every viable option before recommending laying off any staff?
  • Have we talked to Labor and Employee Relations to discuss advising the unions?