Why do Companies Downsize?

Companies Downsize - Complete Controller

Often companies need to reduce the number of employees on the payroll. But why? This article explains the reasons behind downsizing and lists the positive and negative effects of downsizing.

Why do Companies Downsize?

Reducing Costs

Employee compensation and benefits are a liability for the company and reduce the owner’s equity. Every company incurs considerable costs of salaries and other benefits and expects the employees to help increase profitability. Therefore, if employees are not positively contributing to the company’s growth, it is better to let them go, thereby reducing costs. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Shift to Outsourcing

Keeping permanent employees is costly. The company must provide benefits along with the gross salary, annual salary increases, and more. If the company believes that outsourcing employees will reduce costs, bring in more skilled labor, and add to the company’s competitive edge, it may decide to downsize.


Mergers are a key reason for downsizing. When two companies merge, they start working as one unit; therefore, they share resources. The chances are that multiple employees fulfill the same role, which causes redundancy in work and cost, so they must be downsized to maintain productivity and efficiency.

Positive Effects of Downsizing

  1. Controls Costs

Downsizing allows companies to reduce costs by laying off employees who are either no longer needed in the company or have not been productive. The company is saved from paying employees who are not positively contributing and have been adding to undue expenses. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

  1. Emphasizes on Performance

After downsizing, the employees who remain in the company know that their survival depends on the performance and the quality of work they deliver. It naturally emphasizes the need to improve and maintain their performance and, as a result, enhances productivity in the company. Also, it differentiates hardworking employees from less productive ones, as those who are not willing to sharpen their skills and work in a competitive environment eventually leave or can be let go.

  1. Makes Management Easier

A company is left with a smaller team once it has successfully undergone downsizing. This allows management to develop professional relationships within the company, understand employee challenges, and resolve their concerns while fostering employee satisfaction.

  1. Retains Talent and Skills

Companies do not want to retain unproductive employees. More often, employee performance decreases with time as a secure job makes employees comfortable, and they do not try to learn new skills. Downsizing allows the company to enjoy a pool of talented and skilled workforce willing to learn and work productively.

Negative Effects of Downsizing Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

  1. Increases Work Pressure

The employees who are left with the company are required to do some part of the work that the downsized employees were responsible for. This lays work pressure on the employees can leave them exhausted and frustrated by additional responsibilities and no pay increase.

  1. May Raise Legal Issues

A major downsizing in the company can lead to legal risks and problems. There are several unions and agencies that work solely for employee rights.  The company may face discrimination lawsuits, which can take a lot of the company’s time and money.

  1. Damages Company Reputation

Downsizing is a negative term for employees and the rest of the world. People do not like companies that let go of their employees, and prospective employees may avoid working in companies that have a history of downsizing.  This can have a long-lasting, negative impact on the company’s reputation.

  1. Raises Job Insecurity

Downsizing means that all employees could be let go, and this raises employees’ concerns.  As a result, productive employees who would have been kept might start looking for employment opportunities elsewhere and leave. 

Downsizing is often necessary to keep the company profitable by reducing the costs of retaining unproductive employees. However, it must be carried out meticulously, and employees should know why they are asked to leave. Also, the retained employees must be motivated to work with the best of their skills and potential and be assured that their jobs are not in danger.

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