Tag Archives: Non-Profit organization

Maintaining Momentum After Layoffs

21 Aug

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Layoffs have the same effect on a non-profit as knocking the wind out of someone by running at them full speed. At least that’s how it felt when a dear organization I was involved with had succumbed to the depths of the economic struggle. One day 9 amazing people – who regularly devoted hours and days beyond the 37.5 hour work week – worked in a tight-knit office. The next day 2 remained. All were devastated.

Layoffs – one or many – can totally zap all momentum if left to fester. How do those that remain pick up again and move on, likely doing their job plus another? Well, the answer isn’t an easy one and honestly, will be different for every organization because each one has a different dynamic. But here are my 4 keys to getting back on the proverbial horse and moving on.

1. Mourn. It’s ok to take some time – “some” is defined differently for everyone – to mourn the loss of employees/friends so do it. But then it’s time to pull it together and get serious about the future.

2. Refocus. Ok, so now back to business.

  • Schedule a meeting with the Board of Directors to hear what their expectations are.
  • Complete a SWOT analysis. What went wrong? What did we do well.
  • Define new goals. Start small and work up to major issues.
  • Be flexible. Allow room for modifications to the plan.

3. Restructure if necessary. Define new positions; retitle where applicable. Who will be doing what? Explicitly outline expectations.

4. Use Volunteers. Increase volunteer involvement in projects and campaigns. Focus on the use of volunteer committees. If necessary, complete a volunteer recruitment campaign.

Bottom Line: Layoffs are difficult, but you can overcome. 

Do you have any words of wisdom to contribute to this article? Be part of the discussion by sharing your views in the “Comments” section below.

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