If You Had to Layoff Your Staff, How Would You Do It?

If you had to downsize your practice, how would you do it? How would you decided who goes and who stays? Of course, we want to be as fair as possible, but how do you define fair? Some will consider it fair to fire the newer employees first, while others will argue that employees that have been there the longest generally cost more or have gotten comfortable in their roles.

Jeanne Marconi, a pediatrician in Norwalk, CT weighed in on this difficult topic the other day on SOAPM. I thought she had some very good practical advice, so I asked her if I could share it with the readers of this blog. She agreed.

Here is what she had to say:

  1. Develop a rating scale of all departments.
  2. Decide what 5 stars means and choose and REWARD the 5 star employees.
  3. Only keep 4 star employees if you BELIEVE they are capable of 5 stars.
  4. It should not be a surprise to the staff, as they probably already know the slackers.
  5. Be openly honest about the finances but be POSITIVE that this is an opportunity to evaluate all the costs.
  6. Consider options for enhancing your revenue. There are many ways to do this and forecast efficiently.
  7. Consult with a consultant to help you in the revenue stream. You would be amazed how much money is left on the sidewalk.

I like Dr. Marconi’s suggestions because they force us into a process to derive at a decision by considering things deliberately. The process requires one to be brutally honest to ourselves, to the staff and to the business.

After reading Dr. Marconi´s suggestions, Jack Welsch´s book Winning came to mind. It his book, he talks about the process of firing the bottom 10% of his managers and how ¨candor¨ was a must to order to achieve this process successfully.

This takes a lot of courage. And I would assume one would take a lot of criticism along the way. But if you are going to take criticism, might as well end up with the best of the best.

Have you gone through some of these challenges? Do you have anything that you would like to add to Dr. Marconi’s seven-step process?

4 thoughts on “If You Had to Layoff Your Staff, How Would You Do It?”

  1. Well… I can’t say I’m happy that my practice’s troubles were the cause behind the original question, but we did follow Jeanne’s advice, and so far she seems to have been right on the money. Morale-wise, we survived, and I think we will be stronger for the experience. Financially, things are looking up.

    1. Glad to hear that Jeanne’s advice is working. But don’t feel bad about making it on a PediatricInc post. Thanks to your question, and me posting it, other offices that are going thru the same thing can look at this post and at the very least, have a nice framework to work towards.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Kimberly.


  2. Under numbers 5 and 6 I would consult the staff instead of making decisions as a manager or using external consultants. Part of being a 5 star should be that you are actively engaged in how the business is going and it’s important to feel you have a voice in order to be engaged.

    1. Of course this is a very sensitive process that requires a lot more steps than what I’ve outlined here. It is hard to describe all the intricate details in a blog post. Not to mention that each practice/office is different.

      I would also ad that there isn’t always democracy in leadership. Leadership by consensus is most often not leadership.

      Having said that, considering employees’ ideas and perspective can be good sometimes.

      Thanks for you comment.


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