IT Management Slideshow: 10 Tips for Managing with Reduced Headcount

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 01-14-2009

10 Tips for Managing with Reduced Headcount

Dealing with downsizing or layoffs? If you aren't, you may be soon. CIO Insight gathered some of the most effective strategies and tactics for managing staff during lean times. These are organized around three principles: resource planning, retention, and effective leadership.

10 Tips for Managing with Reduced Headcount

1. Outsource

With cloud computing, software as a service and other service-based IT utilities at an all-time peak, there have never been more ways to cheaply outsource functions away from departmental duties.

1. Outsource

2. Hire temps

Don't make valuable layoff survivors do scut work-save them for meaningful tasks by bringing in cheaper labor. This also gives you flexibility to change course quickly and cut workers loose if more reductions come down the pike.

2. Hire temps

3. Use interns

The youth movement can do amazing things straight out of college for a fraction of the price of typical IT contractors, if you decide to pay your interns at all. Just remember it is quid pro quo...these kids are looking for meaningful work and mentorship.

3. Use interns

4. Reassign Technologists

If certain lines of businesses insist that they can't live without a certain project or function that's been deprioritized, see if those other departments will underwrite associated staffers' work. Some strategic reorganization of technologists can go a long way to free up payroll.

4. Reassign Technologists

5. Kill Pointless Meetings

How much time is your staff wasting on pointless meetings that address issues easily resolved in one-on-one face-to-face meetings, phone calls, IM and e-mail? As chief of staff it is your duty to shift culture away from these time wasters.

5. Kill Pointless Meetings

6. Four Day Workweek

Want to get more out of your developers, planners and other goal-oriented staff? Chuck out tradition and institute a four day workweek on the condition that goals and milestones are met. You'll make people happier, save on electricity and likely get more productivity.

6. Four Day Workweek

7. Flextime

Ok, the four day workweek might be a little radical for your organization. But would it kill you to offer some flexibility? Flextime allows workers to log the necessary hours around their schedule, keeping them happier and less likely to leave.

7. Flextime

8. Job sharing

Not always a cost saver, but an effective retention benefit nevertheless. Say you have a function that's cut from two positions to one. One staffer is a new mom and the other wants to have time to do some consulting. Job share the two to keep brain drain at bay.

8. Job sharing

9. Telework

Let's face it, many IT jobs are not always location-specific roles. If staffers can get work done from home, encourage them to do so. Inculcating telework into departmental culture can save on real estate and energy in the long run, can squeeze more productivity out of staff and is another excellent retention benefit.

9. Telework

10. Praise

When downsizing hits organizations, many leaders forget the most basic of management duties: giving credit when it is due. Don't just assume workers know that since they survived a layoff they're doing a great job and are even more invaluable these days. Tell them.

10. Praise