Laying off staff? Make transparent decisions using a skills matrix

Laying off staff? Make transparent decisions using a skills matrix

Use a skills matrix. Nobody can predict the future with absolute certainty. And although you want to avoid doing so, unforeseen economic circumstances such as the current corona crisis might mean you’ll have to lay off staff. If it gets that far, it always involves making radical and gut-wrenching decisions. This article explains how you can at least make the decision-making process honest, objective, and transparent.

Why redundancies?

Having too many people in employment is referred to as ‘redundancy’. There are numerous reasons why this arises, for example economic downturns, which cause revenues to drop and prompt organizations to cut their staffing costs. Take, for example, the airline, travel, and entertainment industries hit by the corona crisis. Travel restrictions and reduced passenger numbers or visitors have caused profits to nosedive, forcing organizations to cut their workforces.

Robotization and automation are other causes, where machines replace humans on a production line or chatbots replace customer support representatives.

Other causes include organizational strategy changes, for example a shift toward greater specialization to gain a competitive edge. This can mean divesting certain tasks, services, or products, and with them superfluous staff.

Using a skills matrix

It’s always a gut-wrenching process to have to fire people, especially when they work and perform well. After all, it’s a decision that negatively impacts the life of your employees. If the step is unavoidable, then it’s vital that your decision-making process be honest, objective, and transparent.

Skills matrices help you achieve this because they provide a clear, concise, visual representation of your staff’s skills, competences, knowledge, and qualifications. They list your employees’ names down the left-hand column and all the skills needed to perform a certain task along the top row (or vice versa). There are several types of skills matrix depending on the complexity and number of skills and competences you’re mapping and monitoring. – Read more

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