Corporate Pruning

How to avoid layoffs.




Why do so many corporations choose to chop an entire forest of employees rather than pruning back those employees who are clearly deadwood? Think about it. Everyone knows these people are not working out. They are weighing the organization down. Yet, nothing happens until the company decides it’s time to trim their workforce.

Effective leaders are constantly assessing their workforce and are making adjustments as they go along. They are not afraid to counsel and eliminate weak links in the organization for they know that pruning will allow other branches in the organization to thrive.

As you assess the landscape of your organization consider the following:

How much better off would we be if we got rid of those bad apples?
Am I taking a risk that we will have to make drastic changes if I don’t take action now?
Will my employees still blossom if I choose to do a lay-off rather than a termination?
If I have to prune back the organization slightly, how do I make sure that I’m not cutting so deep that I kill innovation and customer service?

Ending relationships is never easy. But who said being a leader was going to be a walk in the park? Your job is to nurture your workforce. That means making room for your employees to grow and prosper. If you remove employees who are simply taking up space, then you make room for new seedlings to grow.


Think about this the next time that you decide that it may be better to allow non-performers to remain in your organization rather than managing them out of the company. Trimming back here and there when necessary will provide you with a workforce that can withstand any economic storm that may come your way.


Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Human Resource Solutions

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About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders