The Role of the Human Resource Department in Organizational Downsizing

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Author: Gold Olamide Ekinyi Lawal

Issue: Fall Issue, 2022

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In preparation for an incoming economic recession, organizations in the United States and across the globe are now actively engaging in various downsizing tactics, such as layoffs and hiring freezes, to strategically reduce their workforce. The Human Resources department then has the important responsibility of effectively managing the impact of the downsizing process by mitigating the legal, ethical, and social risks that may arise as a result of layoffs, such as helping affected employees better manage the resulting stress, and empowering surviving employees to continue productivity. While most companies focus solely on continuing business operations after layoffs and reducing legal and publicity risks, not much is done to alleviate the stress so that the organizations’ remaining employees can better cope with their new situations. This paper provides a brief overview of the concept of organizational downsizing and its effect on employees. Additionally, the paper describes the function of the HR department in the downsizing process and concludes that the HR department has a responsibility to both surviving and affected employees. This paper then examines the responsibility of the department to both parties.