Re-engineering and downsizing are usually thought of as the same thing. They are not. Downsizing is typically an ill-conceived attempt by people in power to pander to shareholders or the public to reduce costs. It is an admission of failure — failure to continuously fine-tune an organization to keep it fighting fit or lean and mean. Re-engineering is about examining work processes and finding innovative ways to eliminate waste, duplication, and non-value-added activities. It can result in significant quality improvement, as well as time and cost reduction. But often it requires changes in organization and work habits.
If your organization is being downsized, you can do little other than
update your resumé;
appear to be busy.
If your organization is re-engineering its work processes, volunteer to be involved. In this way, you can participate in the analysis of existing workflow and have some input into the changes that will result.
After a re-engineering investigation or a downsizing exercise, expect the following to happen:
Initially, there will be sighs of relief from people who are not directly impacted.
There will be a feeling of guilt on the part of people who survived, particularly if close working friends were laid off.
Confusion will set in as work arrangements and responsibilities are changed.
Some will feel resentment at having larger workloads. Passive-aggressive behaviour, rather than outright challenges, can be expected.
Supervisors will run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They will carry more of the slack until they are able to delegate assignments.
Monitoring of performance will increase, as it is expected that people will improve their performance as a payback for having kept their jobs.
Stress will go through the roof.
The number of resignations will increase.
Eventually, things will settle down and return to more normal conditions.