How do I cut my workforce and not seem like a failure?

Dear Aunty B,

We are in the consumer market and really struggling. We need to retrench about 30% of our staff to get back to break even, but it is such a difficult decision.

It’s not just the staff I am worried about. I am in the “media” eye and they will pick up on this and make me out to be a failure. However I am sure it is key to our long term survival. How do I feel better about this?

Please treat this anonymously.

Media star,


Dear Media Star,

I treat everyone anonymously. Having said that I do know who you are and I think you are exaggerating your importance in the media’s eye (sorry.)

Tops, you’ll rate a few paragraphs in some industry section. So stop worrying about that. Besides, the market loves it when retrenchments are announced. Share prices soar (before dropping back to earth the next day).

Of course you are worried about your staff. So make sure you do it properly and sensitively (don’t send around an email, which is what some brutish, stupid big companies do).

Lastly, you are not a failure. All growing companies have to make difficult decisions at times. When you look back in the future, it could well be your determination to retrench back to break-even point that determines your long term survival. The real failures can often be CEOs who don’t make the cuts deep enough to give the company a second chance.

So try thinking of yourself as gutsy, and get on with it.

Good luck,

Your Aunty B.

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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