Downsizing is a delicate procedure for every business that has to go through it. Although it’s necessary, it can be very difficult for businesses to cut positions, especially if it means letting go of long-time employees. It can also be a tall task for your HR department; they need to deliver bad news to many of their colleagues—some of them in their own department. And while your HR team is a talented group of individuals with a lot of skill in what they do, they may not have the expertise to handle downscaling. That’s when you should call in the reinforcements to help you manage the process of scaling back your business.


Downscaling is a process most businesses hope to never go through, but it is in many cases necessary. With some luck, this is the first time your HR staff have had to handle an exercise in scaling back. In fact, your business has likely called on your staff to be generalists or even develop their expertise in other areas. Of course, that means that your in-house team may not have the expertise you need to handle the situation effectively. They may not have up-to-date knowledge about best practices and the latest methods. It’s also possible that they don’t have the best tools available to them either. All of that can lead to problems during the process.

The fact is that you need expert knowledge when you downsize. Outsourcing HR offers an easy way to tap into the knowledge of experts who have practical experience guiding businesses through the process. That’s a huge advantage for businesses that don’t have in-house expertise.


Downsizing can be a time-intensive process where attention to detail is a must; if things aren’t handled correctly, you may find yourself at the wrong end of negative publicity from disgruntled ex-employees. But chances are you and your HR staff are already contending with full schedules. That can mean slow-downs and delays—which can lead to tensions in your workforce. It might also mean that certain tasks are rushed, which could spell trouble if key details are missed. It’s important to execute a downscaling process with both precision and efficiency.

Specialists outside the company are able to devote more time to the project, thus ensuring things are done in a timely manner. That’s important when you have deadlines. It also allows you to turn over the most detail-oriented and time-intensive parts of downsizing to someone who not only has the time to read through the fine print twice, but who also knows the process inside-out.


Downsizing can be hard on both the employees who are let go and those who remain behind. Emotions can run high; if decisions aren’t delivered quickly, employees may fear for their own jobs. Some will be angry and others will be saddened. It can be very difficult for you and your HR staff to announce bad news to your co-workers, especially long-time employees. This is especially acute in small businesses or small departments, where employees may know each other very well and care for each other quite deeply.

Outside experts bring professionalism and empathy to a difficult process. Since outside HR specialists don’t have the same attachments as your in-house staff, they can deliver bad news without being overly affected by the task. While they have less personal attachment, of course, they will still be able to empathize with those who are let go, which can help mitigate negative feelings toward you and your business. That means your former employees are more likely to feel they were treated respectfully and that the downsizing process was handled well.

Felicia Smith

Felicia is the manager of human capital solutions at AugmentHR. With over six years of recruitment experience coupled with multi-faceted HR roles, Felicia is an expert in matching people with the right role and environment. She has worked in many different industries, including investment banking, HR consulting firms, medical, and commercial. Understanding people is one of her strengths, and she has recruited at every level, from directors, project managers, and engineers to operators and general labourers. Her ability to network and develop relationships has been a key tool to her success. With approximately two years of experience managing people and creating a positive work environment, Felicia’s diverse skill set makes her a well-rounded individual. Her business education and background help her identify different business needs and human capital solutions.

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