"Rightsizing" just before Chinese New Year?

1/17/2020, By Sze-Yen Chee

Dear Yen,

I’ve just been informed by Senior Management that we have to conduct a “Rightsizing” exercise next week. It’s exactly before the Chinese New Year! I feel it’s wrong to do so. What can I do?


Mrs. Tan

Dear Mrs. Tan,

In many organizations, senior leaders in the HQ are not always aware of cultures outside their own. I’m happy to know you care.

You could try to appeal to their humanity and empathy, but you could also try to make a business case. Your leaders would definitely care about their reputation and the corporate brand.

Do send a message about how poorly it would reflect on them to retrench staff just before a major holiday. It’s no different than retrenching at Christmas.

Also, ask for time to ensure proper planning and execution. Some Managers may require training and mental preparation as well. It can be very stressful to conduct the notification meeting. Do not be forced to rush into things as it could turn out badly.

On a similar note, please research every employee to check if they have had any recent health or family issues, anniversaries, etc. If there are any red flags, escalate immediately.

Thank you for doing all you can to look out for the welfare of your staff.

All the best,