Chief of Police: Dealing with the Economic Downturn
The process of reducing employees can be nerve wrecking especially in the police sector. As the Chief of Police, the process of layoff proves difficult. It is a nightmare on imagination of the scene of termination especially where a family member is part of the layoff. The process may raise valid concerns, but reducing various employees will have a positive impact in the management of the team, and efficient delivery of services. It is, therefore, crucial to take consideration on the economic reality in the current days. It may not be ethical for the city council to have employees whom it may not manage in the current economic state.
The activity may be a hard thing to do, but the economic state cannot allow for another alternative. Thus, lay off is the best activity to ensure that the team is manageable. The exercise need to have a strategy (Bailey, 2011).The worst thing that can happen in layoffs is impromptu relieve of duties to employees. It may have a negative effect on those left, as they might not be sure whether they are the next in the layoff process. Communication forms the key element in ensuring employees get enough information on the reason for layoff and making them understand the economic situation that exists (Blase, 2000).
With respect to how to undertake the downsizing from an ethical perspective, it is very important to share the truth on the actual reason for layoff. To those that are subject to the exercise the sector will convey to them that the layoff is the last resort decisions, and no other options are available. They need to realize that they are not the fault for the situation that the sector is facing. According to Bailey (2011), the employees need to know that the sector will give them priority for future positions should the circumstance so dictate.
As it is an obligation to perform a layoff, there is a need to observe all the legal requirements before relieving the officers their tasks (Burke & Cooper, 2000). The primary approach to start with is notifying the officer in two months prior that there is a layoff to occur. It should be through written document sent to every officer. The written document should contain the criteria on which the office will use in selecting those to layoffs.
In order to avoid any conflict, the reasons for layoff need to be in the document. In this case, the economic crisis calls for a reduction of expenses to ensure the council works within the budget. The employees need to have a choice of voluntary retirement scheme for those willing. The other approach need to be offering the officers additional compensation beyond normal legal and contractual requirements (Salemi, 2010). These include severance agreements and members given a month or two to consider the compensation.
After getting those who are willing to leave voluntarily, the selection of the other members, need a well-laid criteria. The criteria need to be objective and based on merit. The strength is a merit criterion, and combination of different merits could vary from officers and civilian staff. The process need to consider the values of access, fairness, transparency, and value of representativeness (Burke & Cooper, 2000). Those to remain need to meet the merit criteria in order to perform the functions of their positions. This depends on the identified needs in the sector. Through a well-developed assessment tool developed by advisors, the retained members need to meet the essential qualifications.
The process need not to discriminate anybody on either gender or political, religion affiliations. After the final decision, there is no need to retaliate, as it will form the basis for workplace retaliation lawsuit. There is also need to check on the last paychecks as the only legal obligation entails paying all salaries earned up to the time of layoff (Soliman, 2011).
The layoff process will relieve the city council the huge salary burden in the current economic situation. There is also a reduction in the purchase of technological equipment to reduce the overall expenses (Bailey, 2011). The trainings also need fixation to fit a tight budget that the council can meet.
The process need to be transparent and fair to avoid any sense of corruption. A committee should be involved in assessing the employees. This would eliminate any complain of that the layoff based on personal conflicts or inclination towards favoring certain people (Johnston, 2005). It is necessary to prevent any corruption scene, as it would scar the image of the sector and those left may not have the morale to work, as they would see the management irresponsible. They may have the sense that, at any time, they may also be relieved their duties through corruption. The police sector is very sensitive, and any form of corruption might cause loss of public trust even in service delivery. In order to avoid the issue of corruption, the results of assessment needs documentation and criteria used indicated as it may serve as evidence in case of lawsuits. According to Johnston (2005), any case of corruption would mean retaining members who are less efficient, and this may affect negatively service delivery in the sector.
After the layoff process, it is necessary to get back to the drawing board to ensure rendering of services in normalcy. There is a need to delegate duties again depending on the strengths detected in the assessment or in the previous assignments. Allocating the officers the task they are good at would boost their morale in service delivery. Services that are less pressing require less attention than those involved in ensuring that the sector performs well even in economic and staff fixes (Burke & Cooper, 2000). The revision on tasks would ensure adequate coverage of tasks and responsibilities. It is also necessary to tap high potential employees for suggestions that can maintain or raise performance and productivity. To counteract employee morale, the officers need involvement is resolving any issues within them, that they feel needs addressing.
Development of a communication strategy would keep the retained members informed on any subsequent changes. The changes may be organizational changes or additional changes in the workforce. Thus, a communication plan needs to be in place (Belasen, 2000). The plan needs to involve staff meetings, the groups on employee focus and individual conferences with members with specific concerns about the process. An open communication line would minimize employees' gossip tendency on the future of their jobs and eliminate any misconception concerning the lack of job security. An open door policy down the hierarchy would help in motivation, as members would feel their issues have a chance of consideration (Belasen, 2000).
To ensure the retained staff has a sense of belonging and to help them understand the whole concept of layoff, they would need counseling. Counseling before or after the event can be a good idea and would benefit the sector and the staff. The activity would make it easy for the members to talk out their problems and get solutions from the counselors. It would also be effective to eliminate the stress referred to as survivor's guilt (Soliman, 2011). The guilt arises when one feels they have the job and a coworker do not. It is necessary to identify those suffering from the guilt and attend to them professionally. There should be an indication that those relieved are okay. Family members need also be involved in the counseling to help them counteract the stress of their own being relieved. A letter of appreciation may also do well to the family and spouses of the affected.
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