It is hard to leave a company you adore. Luckily, change creates space for development.
A week ago myself and 24 of my colleagues at the head quarter of Schibsted received the message from our leaders:
Sorry, we’ll have to cut 1 out of 4 full time employees at the Schibsted Media Group’s head office. You’re one of our people who we are offering a severance package.
Of course, getting that message is pretty rough. I entered into my job with head and toes and have tried to faciliate good arenas for executive and corporate learning. However, when company incomes shrink and economic prospects are gloomy, it is comprehensible that our executives will need to make some tough decisions. They’ve already downsized in other parts of our media group (Spain, France, Norway, Sweden, etc), so it’s about time the head office started counting its heads and making some cuts.
Involve your employees, even though it’s brutal
There is at least one really valuable lesson to be learnt from the downsizing process I have just been a part of: involve your employees also when times are rough.
More than a month ago my boss asked me and my colleagues who are in charge of leadership development activities across the media group to suggest ways to cut costs in our activities. We were asked to present a few alternative scenarios. The bigger the cuts, the better. So we did. Suddenly I realised the value of involvement. The process of actually going into depth of what the consequences would be if we cut a lot vs a little of our costs made a lot of sense to me.
It is actually possible to make people identify themselves with rough consequences if they themselves are invited to suggest and design them. Our boss listened to us and took parts of our scenarios into account when she moved forward with the process of downsizing.
How come this feels okay in the end, even though I will leave my job due to the process? I think this process confirms the basic human need of being listened to and to be confirmed. We were listened to and thus we were much more open to buy the message from our executives that our functions will need to take a break right now due to the financial situation the media industry is going through.
Change triggers opportunities
Sudden changes also makes one’s mind go hunt for opportunities. I will stay in my position for a few most likely until over the summer in order to complete my activities. I will start looking for opportunities. At the same time this moment is also a perfect timing for rediscovering my ideas and passions in my professional life. What are they? Are they the same as what I am currently doing? Are they something different?
I think a lot of people, not only those of us who are being downsized, may find it thrilling and encouraging to go hunt for ones real professional self.