2008 Downsizing Communication

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Description of the award-winning communication program for the IMF\'s 2008 downsizing exercise.

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2008 Downsizing Communication

  1. 1. Maintaining Trust & Respect During a Downsizing Peggy Schoen HR Communications Officer International Monetary Fund Melcrum Strategic Communication Summit Chicago, Sept. 22, 2009
  2. 2. The Who, Why, What & How <ul><li>About the International Monetary Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Who works for the IMF? </li></ul><ul><li>Refocusing the Fund in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges of the Downsizing Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>“ Exploring Your Options” Program </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes & Lessons Learned </li></ul><ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>
  3. 3. About the International Monetary Fund <ul><li>International organization in the United Nations system </li></ul><ul><li>Works to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>186 member countries </li></ul><ul><li>Based in Washington, DC </li></ul>
  4. 4. Who works for the Fund? <ul><li>(2008) 2900 regular staff </li></ul><ul><li>Most based in DC, but traveling abroad </li></ul><ul><li>Economists & specialized career streams </li></ul><ul><li>2/3 are expatriates from 130 countries </li></ul><ul><li>High percentage have advanced degrees </li></ul>
  5. 5. Refocusing the Fund in 2008 <ul><li>IMF’s business model relied heavily on income from lending operations. </li></ul><ul><li>By 2006, lending activity had declined, so a committee of economic experts recommended: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New income model sourcing more diverse revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review of administrative expenditures </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Refocusing the Fund in 2008 <ul><li>Review concluded: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>¼ of projected annual shortfall could be saved by reducing staffing and other administrative costs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The new income model would require some adjustment in skill sets. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Management set a target to reduce 380 positions over a 2-year period </li></ul>
  7. 7. Challenges of the Downsizing Exercise <ul><li>IMF had no prior experience with a large staff reduction </li></ul><ul><li>Short time-line meant that policy decisions had to be taken during the process </li></ul><ul><li>High % expatriate staff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Family disruption of an unexpected international relocation (within 60 days) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complexities of making international pension & tax decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty in obtaining a different type of visa to stay in U.S. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of familiarity with the local job market and/or inexperience with a recent job search </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Staff on travel, in the field, on assignment or sabbatical </li></ul>
  8. 8. “ Exploring Your Options” Program Goals <ul><li>Providing staff with adequate information and support in decision-making so that the number & profile of volunteers needed to meet the downsizing goal was delivered while: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowing operational managers to focus on counseling and refocusing work. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retaining staff motivation and engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensuring that the Fund’s reputation as a respected institution and desirability as a potential employer was retained. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Measurement <ul><li>After the exercise was over, HRD wanted to show that a majority of Fund staff felt that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The downsizing was necessary & the process was fair and transparent. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They had a clear sense of their future prospects at the Fund & a good understanding of their options under the downsizing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff who left received adequate support from HRD & their departments. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff who stayed considered the Fund to be a motivating workplace. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Key Elements of the EYO Program <ul><li>Senior management engagement, communication & empathy </li></ul><ul><li>Special voluntary process & enhancements to existing benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Advisory services </li></ul><ul><li>“ Exploring Your Options” communications program </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational outreach to identify external opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Guidance to department managers </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement with staff association </li></ul>
  11. 11. EYO Communication Channels <ul><li>Dedicated internal web site </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic FAQs (subscription available) </li></ul><ul><li>Informational seminars & briefings (live & recorded webcasts) </li></ul><ul><li>Town halls </li></ul><ul><li>Intranet articles </li></ul><ul><li>Staff association </li></ul><ul><li>Web boards </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn </li></ul>
  12. 12. EYO Web Site <ul><li>Built in Microsoft SharePoint in 3 weeks & set readership records </li></ul><ul><li>Helped potential volunteers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand how the downsizing would be conducted & decisions made </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review enhanced benefits & services available to those who left on a voluntary or mandatory basis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep abreast of upcoming seminars, briefings, town halls & deadlines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access information on the impact of separation (pension, tax, visas,etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore external career opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connect with resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask questions and review answers to FAQs </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. EYO Web Site
  14. 14. EYO Advisory Services <ul><li>Dedicated e-mail box managed by HRD </li></ul><ul><li>Pension calculation room </li></ul><ul><li>HR support teams assigned to departments </li></ul><ul><li>Consultants available by appointment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Career & outplacement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tax, visa & financial planning </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Outreach to Identify Job Opportunities <ul><li>Letters from the MD to OECD governments </li></ul><ul><li>Letters to heads of major international organizations & bilateral development finance institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach to Washington-based organizations – for ex., World Bank, IDB and U.S. government agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Contacts to trade associations & other organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Contacts in the private sector </li></ul><ul><li>Internal web board where staff could flag opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Staff & alumni group in LinkedIn </li></ul>
  16. 16. Exploring Your Opportunities
  17. 17. Outcomes <ul><li>591 volunteers (more than the 380 required) </li></ul><ul><li>50% of staff completed a post-downsizing survey: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>60% of respondents rated communication during the downsizing as good or very good. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>80% said they felt the restructuring was necessary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>63% said that the objectives of the process were clear </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2009 IABC Gold Quill Merit Award </li></ul>
  18. 18. Outcomes <ul><li>In an interview for the release of his annual report in November 2008, the Fund’s Independent Ombudsperson noted that: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The bright spot in the downsizing exercise was the communication between management and staff. It was a model that should be followed in future Fund programs and projects. It should serve as a best practice for other organizations. I did not hear one concern about staff not knowing what was going on. SAC (Staff Association) also did a brilliant job in communicating with its constituency. This communication piece was so important, so vital to the successful outcome of the downsizing. The lack of communication creates suspicion, doubt, and cynicism.” </li></ul>
  19. 19. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Management involvement and tone is vital. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the process as transparent as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify employee concerns early & focus adequate resources to address them. </li></ul><ul><li>Set up multiple feedback channels & respond quickly to new issues raised. </li></ul><ul><li>Use tools that allow for dynamic updating & make it easy for users to identify new information. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a positive momentum & focus on helping each other. </li></ul><ul><li>Treat employees as though you might need to work with them again some day because....... </li></ul>
  20. 20. ...you never know what happens next...
  21. 21. Q & A <ul><li>Peggy Schoen </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.linkedin.com/in/peggyschoen </li></ul>

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