Alternatives To Downsizing Research Proposal Samples

Type of paper: Research Proposal

Topic: Company, Workplace, Human Resource Management, Planning, Staff, Time Management, Skills, Management

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/10/09


Succession planning is a better alternative to downsizing in a company that aims at effective long-term staffing options. It saves the company not only in economic terms but also on the negativity associated with staff layoffs and firing for economic reasons. Succession planning is more of an internal company affair, and it involves an institution identifying the types of management and skills needed in positions at the various operational levels. The human resource department is instrumental in formulating an effective succession plan by identifying the positions and the candidates. Over time, employees of an organization gain skills and experiences that enable them to perform at higher operational levels and in some instances, organizations have promoted employees on the basis of skills and experience.


In trying to find ways to improve efficiency and financial standing, firms have opted for ways that might seem to be derogatory. Downsizing has been the most common way that firms have ensured they remain profitable and operational in the face of declining sales. Economic downturns have been the major cause of downsizing and, in this case, disadvantageous in a couple of ways. Companies that have opted for staff layoffs or workforce reduction have experienced negative attitude from investors and has rendered many people jobless especially for the case of professional or custom jobs. In some instances, downsizing caused even a poorer performance of the company especially if it involved technical matters that required a larger workforce or an automated system that still comes at a cost.
In order to create a sustainable and efficient system to deal with an economic hurdle a company faces, succession planning would be the best tactic. In succession tactic, the employees will not be phased out; instead they are placed in different positions created in the event of a financial situation. For example, the company will need more economic experts. Thus, the positions are created to develop a strategy out of the situation. Essentially, this will save the company on cost and workforce deficiency. The staffs are transferred to the most deserving departments or positions. Also, in the case of retiring staff from top positions, the company will seek one of its own to replace the position and instead of layoffs, it would instead hire. The plan seeks to have every staff member’s contribution and to have a sustainable human resource plan that can uphold longer. The main factor is training or preparing staff for advanced positions and roles (Gandolfi, 2000).
Downsizing is a long-term strategy that would be very effective in times of economic hurdles. During downsizing, it is evident that only the junior staff or subordinates whose input to the company is technical have fallen victim in most cases. On the other hand, influential positions and, in particular, the management positions have rarely been directly affected by the changes involved in downsizing. The main aim of succession planning is for human resource departments to determine these positions then they can pick up potential candidates from the workforce, for instance, a technical staff that has shown great abilities and potential. Some of these positions can be created by retiring staff members or the need for additional services within the company (Winn, 2000).
The plan is aimed at getting a company to depend on the abilities of its current staff and instead of sourcing them elsewhere; they can place current employees to the positions available upon evaluation. The placement does not automatically translate into a salary increase though the company needs to assess how to compensate for additional work input in the new positions (Atwood, 2007).

The Organization

Alcatel-Lucent is a multinational company that is foremost in Cloud Technology, IP networking, and ultra-broadband access that has its main offices in the U.S. and Canada. The company in its mission seeks to invent and deliver trusted networks to help its customers unleash their value. It plans to transform, grow and innovate so that it achieves its goals in the long-term. Recently, the company announced its plan to lay off some of its staff operating its global offices. That is as a result of competition in the market and the influx of substandard services that come cheap and attracts many customers for this reason reducing their projections. It was reported that 10,000 jobs will be eliminated worldwide by the end of 2015. That comes as the company seeks to retain only a few of its services that contribute up to half of its revenue. The staff aimed for layoffs have directly contributed towards the company’s technological input that its products and services solely depend on as a major source of revenue. In its North American offices alone, 2000 jobs are slated for elimination. The corporate executives of the company stated that the move aims at ensuring the company remains profitable and retains their pursuit in technological inventions. The company declared that it would seek to incorporate better features into its services and products to keep up with the market’s competition. In essence, the staff sought after for layoff is the one involved in the technical process from the middle level that forms the majority of the company organization structure.

Succession Planning Best Practices

Succession planning best practices involves four strategies. First, support for top leadership where there is a created plan for top leadership and its constitution. It addresses human capital challenges through strategic plans that involve hiring, retention, and mentoring. It involves identifying talent from various organizational levels and focus mostly on early careers with great potential. Also, leadership development is formulated through training and assignments.
Succession plan is a technique that has been operational in some successful companies, especially large tech firms whose revenue relies on technology and innovations. It is a continuous process. It is a sustainable plan adopted by other companies and operational to date in order to keep its tradition and culture that contributes to its success despite the economic hardships. Companies have been sourcing from within their staff to fill up other positions that are created or fell vacant for certain reasons. It has been deeply rooted in some of the companies that even its top executives are sourced from within the company. Research has indicated that sourcing personnel from within the company will challenge the rest of the staff to improve and increase on performance in order to fit into other positions of higher or similar level. Some companies have taken up the responsibility to train certain groups of its employees on certain skills in anticipation of the future. Practically, it is easier to negotiate the salary and allowances to compensate for work input by a company’s staff other than those sourced externally (AWWA, 2005).
Succession planning has more advantages than disadvantages. First, it is a sustainable plan that seeks to create the best out of every staff member of a company. That is a plan aimed at the future in anticipation by identifying outstanding potentially skilled and talented staff. That will improve the job performance and get the human resource management team steadfast and contributive to the company on a larger scale. The plan will keep the organization running in the right direction in case the top management staff retires.
It also enables preparedness. Among the leading challenges organizations encounter when seeking a new staff, is the bureaucratic process that takes long to execute and materialize. Succession ensures that the human resource team is always on track and in case of any vacancies; a replacement is available as soon as possible. It also uncovers any weaknesses that exist within the workforce that must be acted upon to for a secure business and financial growth. That can be through training or offering more resources to improve performance.
Succession plan also plays a critical role in determining a company’s organizational structure through getting a bird’s eye view of the operations and performances. In that case, planning does not solely depend on the higher management levels but rather it can incorporate middle managers who interact directly with the staff members. It helps in developing a stable succession plan comprehensively (Fay & Lührmann, 2004).
Some of the disadvantages include poor decision-making and consequently poor company performance in case the succession plan is poorly conducted. For immature organizations, succession plans may lead to erroneous conclusions on leadership or selecting inexperienced leaders. The biggest challenge for human resource departments is being able to select the right person out of a possible many who are striving equally to attain the same position. For family run businesses, succession plans have been the common cause of rivalries that has led to the closure of companies or split-ups thus weakening performance and revenue.
Currently, there are many giant companies involved in grooming members for its future leadership. In some cases, companies have employed talented and skilled young staff members purposely to groom them for leadership through coaching and experience at the company. Most of these giant companies count on their top leadership for performance and growth and for that reason succession is a very important factor for the plans.
Succession planning best case scenario is when a company’s juniors are enthusiastic about the business and plan to commit to its future. That is the company through its human resource management team should be confident that the members can succeed the managers or those at the top positions. For family-owned businesses, the succession is the most preferred method to ensure that the employees are retained to sustain itself further. It is also key in the current scenario of talent-oriented market that is very competitive. Talent must be developed in such cases in order to have an effective organizational growth to create harmony between hopes and expectations through preparedness. The best case scenarios usually aimed at concentrating on the starting point and not necessarily the final succession plan structure (Clifford, 2008).


For the case of Alcatel-Lucent, the succession plan would effectively work out for the company. In the context of the company, there are staff members who will retire later, and for that reason they will have to be replaced. Similarly, the new plan to get more technology gurus will require that the company hires new staff members to effect the plan. Since the plan is slated to happen later on, the plan can be implemented not to save the jobs but to secure the presence of the employees in the company. That means some off the employees sought after for layoff can still use their skills and experience in another position. The company seeks to improve on its technology, and this will require that they hire other staff members though a few as compared to those expected for layoff to play the technical role at a higher level. If fully implemented, most of the employees will have to undergo extra training on technological matters to acquire skills that would befit them for the new responsibilities. The staff member is then required to engage in a more professional field like, for instance, switching from software development department to the information technology department or vice versa depending on the requirement specified. That can be done by formulating policies that will guide the transfer or placement of the staff to the positions (Rothwell, 2010). In the same manner, the perks can be revised in a way that will see the company maintain its profit. That may involve revising it downwards or retaining the same. Potential staff or those that have displayed exceptional skills are best suited to fit into the new positions or take up the new roles. As the company’s older staff retires or resign, their positions can be filled by the newly trained current staff. The plan is, however, not subjective and for the staff members seeking not to pursue the path of the plan should seek early retirement. The company will create new managerial structure that will concentrate more on closely monitoring the staff for potential identification. The money that will be used in the downsizing intended is used for training and benefit the company’s long-term plan (Cummings & Worley, 2013)
In summary, the company will be able to sustain its operations with the same staff equipped with more skills. In the long-term the company will have groomed its staff members for flexibility so that they can take up future challenges in the dynamic world of technology.


Atwood, C. G. (2007). Succession Planning Basics. Baltimore, Maryland: American Society for Training and Development.
AWWA Research Foundation. (2005). Succession Planning for a Vital Workforce in the Information Age.
Clifford, S. (2008). An Owner’s Guide to Business Succession Planning (2nd ed.). Kent, OH: Popular Press.
Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2013). Organization Development and Change (10th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Fay, D., & ‎Lührmann, H. (Eds.). (2004). Facing Up to the Constancy of Organizational Change: Further Insights and Approaches to Solutions. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 13(2).
Gandolfi, F. (2000). Corporate Downsizing Demystified: A Scholarly Analysis of a Business Phenomenon. The ICFAI University Press.
Rothwell, W. J. (2010). Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within (4th ed.). New York, NY: Amacom.
Winn, P. (2000). Business Succession Planning. Dearborn Financial Publishing.

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