A disastrous year means I have to let go of some beloved staff. How am I going to do this?

Dear Aunty B,

I am distraught. Our financial year 2012 figures are worse than I was led to believe and I am now going to have to let go four of our fifteen staff just to survive.

We call ourselves a family and I am very close to staff, particularly two of them. I need to do it before the end of this FY so I pretty much have to make my mind up in the next few days on who goes, and it feels like Sophie’s Choice. How do I even begin this process?

Sick to the gut,



Dear Sick to the gut,

You poor thing – this time will pass and better times are coming so cling to that thought as you deal with this.

Now put emotions aside for this decision. Sit down and work out your new strategy. Draw the structure of the team that aligns with that new strategy and write the job descriptions next to those jobs. Lastly, match existing people to those jobs. You may well find that there are a few jobs that don’t now match existing staff and you may well have to hire new skills in to fit the structure down the track.

Once you have the plan in hand it is going to be easier (slightly) to explain to those you have to let go how you have made the decision. And just a tip: I would be looking at your financial reporting and those who are doing it. You shouldn’t be in the dark about your position and how you will finish this year.

Be smart,

Your Aunty B

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