Reducing the size of the organization or reducing number of employees in the organization is called downsizing. Downsizing is a critical decision take by organization and human resource management have important role to play in this context.

This pattern seems to represent a “churning” of employees.  Organizations were laying off employees with outdated skills or cutting whole businesses that were in declining markets while simultaneously building businesses and employee bases in newer, higher-growth markets. Initially layoff refer to the temporary suspension of the employees but now this term also refer to the permanent suspension of the employees.

Reasons of Downsizing

Organization take downsizing decision  due to several reasons some of them are mention below.


When two organization in same industry take the decision to combine their resources for exploiting opportunities and reduce their cost.Downsizing take place in mergers because their are more than one person for the single position, so company have to take rational decision to layoff some employees.


One organization purchase other results in change management. Mostly stakeholders take decision to layoff employees to cut the cost and Increase revenues and profits.

Economics crisis

Recession or depression  lead to the financial crises in the organization. To avoid losses organization have to reduce the number of employees.

Change management

Processes,procedure or higher management change can also result in downsizing.


Due to intense competition companies sometimes aimed to increase revenues and profit to benefit the shareholders. In order to do this companies take the step of downsizing for maximum utilization of human resource.

Human resource management role in downsizing

All employees should be informed why the downsizing is necessary, what costs are to be cut, how long the downsizing will last, and what strategies the organization intends to pursue.

Human resource management play vital role in downsizing to communicate the message in a right way that it will not harm organization image and employees have positive perception after leaving the organization.

Downsizing also impact on the mind of employees working in the organization they feel insecure about their job. HR managers should tell all the employees that their job are secure.

Human resource department should assist the layoff employees in finding other job.

Alternatives of downsizing

Organization to avoid downsizing can take the following step.

Part time Job

Cut the number of job hours and pay employee on hourly basis to engaged him with the company. During his free time he can do any other work for earnings.

Work at home

Give access to the employees to work at home rather then coming at office. This step will reduce the operational cost of the organization.

Shift of department

One business unit of the organization is not doing well, organization can shift the employees to other business unit.

Outsource Employees

Organization can provide outsourcing services is specialized domain so their employees can work on other company projects.

Best movie on Downsizing

Downsizing is always a bad news for the employees, “Office Space” is the great movie on downsizing subject it shows the company intension of downsizing and feelings of employee about the company.