Dealing With Excess Manpower

employee retention and excess manpower
employee retention and excess manpower

There will be times that a company will experience an excess workforce. Also called a ‘labor surplus,’ this means the business has more available workers than needed. Dealing with extra employees can be tricky, but the organization can take some steps to achieve the best results.

What Is An Excess Workforce?

The excess workforce is usually the effect of a business that has gone through some transitions or changes within the organization like technological transitions, changes in the structure, functions, or the company’s work system that leads to lesser need for the human workforce. Once the company has regained footing and improved its process, it is left with staff workers who have fewer things to do.

How Do You Handle Excess Workforce?

In handling an excess workforce, employers usually take some actions to minimize its effect. The following are some steps to cope with the labor surplus occurring in your organization.

1. Workforce Transformation

If the company is experiencing financial stability, it would be better to shift some responsibilities and restructure them. The key is to identify critical talents, skills, and leaders and distribute the workforce per department based on the planned organizational structure and need. It is an excellent opportunity for the company to grow horizontally or vertically instead of laying people off.

2. Hiring Freeze

Sometimes the operational process is already efficient enough not to have any changes. You can give a heads up to the recruitment office that there won’t be any openings at any time soon instead.

3. Early Retirement For Senior Employees

Those who have senior staff on their employee list can also urge their members to opt for early retirement. Older staff tends to be paid higher than their younger counterparts, freeing up a good amount of money for the company.

4. Reduced Working Hours

The management can offer furloughs, additional day-offs, or restricted working hours for the team. This plan also saves much money as it can apply to a broad group of people.

LHH helps individuals in building better careers, better leaders and better businesses.

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employee retention and excess manpower

Dealing With Excess Manpower

There will be times that a company will experience an excess workforce. Also called a ‘labor surplus,’ this means the business has more available workers

Read More »
business transformation

Uncertainty on Job Security

Any kind of job instability is nerve-wracking for anyone. The looming unknown feels more damaging to our health than losing the job itself. The brain

Read More »
business leadership development

5 Ways to Retain Employees Today

Retaining your best employees is a great yet daunting task. Over the years, the standard for keeping the workplace competitive and satisfying enough for them

Read More »

Uncertainty on Job Security

business transformation
business transformation

Any kind of job instability is nerve-wracking for anyone. The looming unknown feels more damaging to our health than losing the job itself.

The brain usually recognizes this kind of psychological setback as a threat; our fight-or-flight response is activated, releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Muscles tighten, breath gets quicker, blood pressure rises, and heart rate gets faster.

Learn how you can cope with uncertainty through these steps.

Accept The Things You Cannot Control

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is certain in this world. The same goes for companies who undergo transformation. It may sound bleak, but every end is a new beginning.

Coming to terms with the expectations you have for your company and the career path you’ve chosen to take can help release the burden of living in fear. It may even help you become more resilient during challenging times.

Strategize With What You Currently Have

Perspective is the most important thing you can control when you’re in a situation you can’t control. Your company may be undergoing a panic-inducing business transformation, but it’s crucial to stay calm and level-headed even in this type of case.

Check current job listings to see what employers are looking for today. Explore your current skill set and sign up for workshops, short courses, or certification exams. Update your resume and polish up your portfolio with your best work.

Train Yourself To Fight Stress Signals

It’s one thing to tell yourself everything will be okay—it’s when you take care of the mind and body even when you’re stressed that makes it a different ball game.

Adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms will never do you any good. Let go of the victim mentality that workforce transformation is the reason why you’re miserable; instead, empower yourself by not letting the disruption define you. Keep working on yourself.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Most importantly, give yourself a break. Overthinking about drafting your back-up plan may eventually lead to rumination, prolonging stress, and ultimately damages the telomere: a crucial part of our DNA.

Find time to bring simple joys into your life even when you can’t help but be worried. Immerse yourself in hobbies you enjoy, or talk to your friends and loved ones over a nice meal.

Open yourself to better opportunities with the right coaching from LHH Philippines. Lee Hecht Harrison is a world-renowned human resource consulting company with over 50 years of experience, and more than 50,000 clients served here in the Philippines.

Curious? Shoot a message and discuss how we can help here.

LHH helps individuals in building better careers, better leaders and better businesses.

5 Ways to Retain Employees Today

business leadership development
business leadership development

Retaining your best employees is a great yet daunting task. Over the years, the standard for keeping the workplace competitive and satisfying enough for them to stay has evolved. A company with a good retention rate attracts top talent & builds a good reputation.

Failing to retain your top talents has a costly and detrimental effect on your business. It can produce insecure employees, inefficient workflows, and added expenses for training new hires.

Follow our five key strategies below to learn how you can keep your team in the long run.

#1: Schedule Stay Interviews

Companies would typically hold exit interviews when the damage has already been done. While the info given by their soon-to-be ex-employees can be useful, having the foresight to check in with existing teammates can help you assess what’s lacking and what can be worked on at the moment.

#2: Make Them Feel Appreciated

Whether it’s through freebies, promotions, or even upskilling, it’s crucial to recognize your employee’s worth. Be fair and generous to your new and senior employees. The management should always make it a point to validate their team’s work through verbal or financial means.

#3: Check the Work System Regularly

Having a disorganized workflow can bring tremendous stress to an employee. They might feel slighted over the imbalanced approach, absorb additional tasks, and feel burned out in the long run. Make it a point to ensure that the current process is operating productively and justifiably.

#4: Give Ample Opportunities Internally

Indeed, happy people don’t look for jobs often. Providing a clear career path for your employees can foster a more positive outlook towards the company. If they can see how they can succeed, they can manage their expectations and learn the skills needed to climb up.

#5: Give Quality Supervision

An employee who does not feel ‘seen’ is like a doormat: it’s close to the door. Don’t take a top talent for granted by failing to recognize the guidance they deserve. Managers and supervisors must set an encouraging environment for the team, or they will soon fall off.

Retention is a tough road that takes time. You may think it’s barely any good, but it can lead you to success that lasts a lifetime.

Invest in leadership development and employee retention today with our help at LHH Philippines. Our long-standing legacy has shaped thousands of career-centric organizations and individuals in their journey.

LHH helps individuals in building better careers, better leaders and better businesses.

employee retention and excess manpower

Dealing With Excess Manpower

There will be times that a company will experience an excess workforce. Also called a ‘labor surplus,’ this means the business has more available workers

Read More »
business transformation

Uncertainty on Job Security

Any kind of job instability is nerve-wracking for anyone. The looming unknown feels more damaging to our health than losing the job itself. The brain

Read More »

If you Must Downsize, Ask this Key Question First

“For some of the hardest hit organizations in the most pandemic-affected industries, the question is simple: is there a way I can reduce the number of people I have to lay off to ensure that I can keep as much top talent as possible?”

John Morgan, EVP & COO, Americas, LHH Tweet

After 15 years in leadership at the world’s leading provider of outplacement services, I have identified two inescapable truths about layoffs.

First, layoffs are sometimes a necessity for organizations that need to transform the way they do business, reduce costs, incorporate new technology, or optimize the use of their talent.

And second, some of the world’s most successful organizations are responding to these very same challenges while minimizing layoffs.

Why would a leading provider of outplacement services want to highlight strategies to minimize the use of layoffs in some situations? It’s a good question that I am facing more and more in my conversations with client organizations.

I tell our clients that one of the advantages of being an industry leader is that it allows us to see the emerging trends before a lot of other players. In this instance, employers are rethinking downsizing strategies to include not only a well-thought-out transition plan that provides outplacement, but also identifies alternatives that can minimize the impact to the workforce.

One thing is certain: post-pandemic, we need to reimagine a better approach to layoffs that not only provides a framework of support to employees through this crisis, but also provides a framework for organizations to build a highly skilled workforce that’s prepared for the future.

The new reality around layoffs

When organizations transform or economies deteriorate, layoffs are an inevitable result. Today, we see some of the world’s biggest companies that found themselves on the wrong side of the “essential services” equation have seen their prospects disappear overnight.

Companies in the retail, arts and culture, airline, hospitality, and tourism industries have been forced to undertake swift and severe reductions in costs that inevitably resulted in widespread layoffs.

But not every company is facing the same drastic economic pressures. Many others have seen their business models profoundly disrupted, but not decimated. These organizations need to transform what they do, how they do it, and the people they employ.

In the past, outplacement services have played an important role in helping organizations manage workforce transformations to produce the best possible outcomes for both employer and employee. However, during the 2009 financial crisis many companies clearly cut too aggressively, making recovery painfully slow. Today, we see many organizations have learned from this experience and are adopting a strategy that balances cost cutting to survive today and investing to grow in the future, positioning themselves for success after recovery.

Most of the CEOs or CHROs I talk with already know that this is the best way forward.

The global skills shortage that existed pre-pandemic has not disappeared with the arrival of COVID-19. Shedding people now in the hopes that you can replace them with employees better suited to the future may not be a viable strategy.

Organizations may also neglect to consider the costs of layoffs that go beyond expenditures on severance and separation. In a world where harsh verdicts come swiftly from traditional and social media, a poorly communicated or poorly managed layoff can do irreparable harm to a company’s relationships with its employees and customers.

The key question all business leaders need to ask themselves

For organizations faced with a need to downsize, the question is simple: can we reduce the number of layoffs and, instead, build a workforce of the future through reskilling, upskilling and redeployment?

The best news I have for organizations facing this question is that there is a win-win scenario here.

The holistic approach to downsizings

Applying the best practices of industry leaders in outplacement, and successful companies that have a reputation for a forward-looking approach to downsizing, there are three key best practices that must be undertaken as part of workforce planning before layoffs are triggered.

  1. Assessment. Large organizations often lack detailed information about the capabilities of the people they employ. They know who they are, a basic job description and some details on performance. But they don’t have a complete picture of all the skills their people possess. This is a blind spot. It’s also an easily reparable deficit. Assessment instruments to evaluate workforce skills can quickly create a map of your organization’s current talent capabilities and where you may need new or different people.
  2. Analytics. Assessment, on its own, will provide an excellent picture of the here and now. However, to understand future skill needs, you want to do a deeper analytical dive. This involves an intensive analysis of current job descriptions and a diagnostic to determine which are most likely to be affected by advances in technology, specifically what roles will disappear, what roles will be augmented, and what new roles will be added. Identifying those jobs that can be performed by machines is essential. But it’s about more than that. This analysis can then be used to identify current employees who have the attitude and the aptitude to transition, with an investment in reskilling or upskilling, into future-fit roles within the organization.
  3. Redeployment. If you have successfully undertaken the first two stages, then you’re ready to consider a more advanced stage. While some layoffs will still be required, you can proceed with confidence knowing you’ve done everything you can to minimize the impact. Many of our clients are finding that with some upfront assessment and talent mapping, they are now positioned to efficiently reskill and redeploy employees rather than lay them off. That not only quickly and cost-effectively fills talent holes but saves on severance and separation benefits. For those layoffs that prove impossible to avoid, you’ll want to offer the individuals outplacement services to ensure their transition into a new position is smooth. That will help contain severance and separation costs, limit any damage to employer brand, and get employees back to work faster.

It’s important to note that many of our clients who invest in assessment and analytics ultimately find they can significantly reduce the number of people they are letting go. Armed with relevant data, they have a complete picture of all employees and future roles they may be able to fill. This ensures that organizations are bringing out the most value out of their people, both for now and well into the future, while minimizing severance and separation costs.

Business leaders have come to understand that drastic times require drastic actions. In the past, that has meant swift and sometimes significant layoffs to address financial pressures.

However, during the unprecedented economic challenges we now face, it’s time we rethink our downsizing playbook.

That will mean reimagining our approach based on assessments, analytics, business intelligence and redeployment. This is the future of workforce planning and there is no better time to get with the program than now.

Know the Territory. Build Resilience


“Change is coming” is the catchphrase du jour but we all know that change has always been here. As the often-quoted Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said, “the only thing that is constant is change”.

Sometimes the changes are incremental that the impact goes unnoticed and it’s business as usual. But there are times when the changes are massive and sweeping, causing turbulence. To weather this, resilience comes in handy.


Resilience is the capacity of an individual to remain both flexible and strong in the midst of ambiguity and change. Being resilient means a person can cope effectively with stress and uncertainty, bounce back from physical and emotional stress, absorb high levels of change and adjust to disruptions in life yet maintain high levels of productivity.

It is a key capability for remaining effective in a world of work that is characterized by constant movement and unpredictability. It allows people to go beyond survival and actually prosper in environments that are complex and dynamic.

Unfortunately, not everyone is born resilient. The good news is, you can learn resilience and even improve it. Collectively, resilient employees make an agile team. And an agile team is less resistant to change, allowing easier and more efficient transition. Because resilient employees are more alert to indicators that change is called for, they have the ability to respond and adapt faster to redirection and are quicker to adjust to system disruptions.

resilience framework

Lee Hecht Harrison’s resilience framework consists of four components: Understand Yourself, Connect to Resources, Know the Territory, and Take Action. In this article, we will zero in on just one: knowing the territory or awareness of the trends having an impact on your situation.

After years of running resilience workshops and tabulating visual and numeric views of resilience profiles, we have discovered that this is a component that is most ignored, it is a weak point for a vast majority. Understandably, because we get caught up in tasks at hand that we tend to forget that there is life outside and beyond what is in front of us.

For you to “know the territory” you must have three attributes.

First is the understanding of the big picture, of the forces and trends that are impacting and shaping your new situation. Seeing how you fit into a larger scheme helps you to recognize that many of these forces are outside of your control, enabling you to gain some perspective on your current situation and to find different ways to look at the world. Such knowledge can be helpful in developing an overall direction and plan.

Second, you must be able to recognize the skills needed for your future success and work towards them. In our contemporary world of constant, rapid change, the employer-employee contract has shifted. Nowadays, employers are interested in what competencies (skills, traits, attitudes) employees can offer to help solve current problems. As an employee, it is necessary for you to consider what value/s you bring to your organization. Knowing what the market requires and what skills you can provide will help to maintain your confidence and optimism in the midst of stressful environments.

Third, you must take responsibility in planning your career and life, in general. Lay down your short and long-range goals. Do not miss out on contingency plans. Knowing yourself and understanding your values and passions can help you remain buoyant in today’s organizations. Having a plan, with flexibility and options, provides the tool to help you navigate your course and be able to make the adjustments that will prove necessary to manage any transition you face.

Here are some steps you can take to develop the aforementioned attributes:

  • Use the internet to gather information on trends affecting your industry and profession: follow initiators and influencers on social media, sign up in discussion boards.
  • Read at least one business publication and one general news periodical regularly.
  • Attend conferences and expositions related to your field.
  • Join a professional organization (like PMAP!) and actively engage in its activities.
  • Get involved in a team that is dealing with an issue important in your profession or organization, and to the future of your career.
  • Select one skill that will be required for your future success and taking a class and/or reading on the topic.
  • Volunteer for an organization through which you can develop pertinent new skills.
  • Outline a tangible career and life plan that includes both long term and short term goals.
  • Get your finances in order.
  • Find a mentor who can provide you with guidance and advice.

Developing and strengthening your resilience does not happen overnight. It requires conscious and constant practice of all components. Knowing the territory brings you one step closer to being able to thrive in tough times.

About Jo Ann Rosary O. Asetre

Jo Ann Rosary O. Asetre is the Operations Director of Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) Philippines, a Talent Development and Transition Company (formerly called Drake Beam Morin). She has conducted Developing Personal Resilience and Change Management workshops to groups of C-Suite executives, mid-level managers, supervisors, and rank and file employees. Jo Ann leads a team of Career Consultants, Subject Matter Experts to deliver Leadership Development, Change Management and Career Transition to numerous local and international companies including those listed in Fortune 500. For more information on LHH, log on to or

Networking: A Career Management Tool

Career Management

Career Management

“I did not realize that a network helps increase a person’s chance for job search success, especially when impacted by organizational changes.” 

This is a feedback of a senior manager who was involuntarily separated from his employer. He has worked for his former company for 22 years, rising from the ranks until he reached his most recent senior-level position. His former employer had to let him go due to change in business strategy. However, he is now agitated because he has been on the market for three months and his severance pay is about to be depleted; yet he still has not received a solid response to his resume which he uploaded in a job search portal. Typical of many other candidates, this person has strongly rejected the idea of networking.

As career coaches of individuals who are in between jobs, we often receive requests that we should connect them immediately to a headhunter (who they think finds jobs for them when in fact these recruiters are working for the companies). Some demand that we just feed them tons of job leads or pass their resumes to as many companies as possible. Many will also prefer to just post their resumes on job search websites instead of crafting their communication and networking strategy. We hear them say that networking only works in the western countries or for senior executives.

In this age of volatile and uncertain world of work, a strong, solid network is more important than ever. One has to realize that a good reputation in a wide network is the most potent career management strategy. Failure to build a strong network is a threat to your professional life, and this principle applies to everyone, wherever you may be in the career ladder.

However, one has to realize that building meaningful, mutually beneficial professional relationship takes time and a lot of effort. It is not just about having a thousand names on your friend or contact list on your social media profile. It goes beyond the number of likes or comments on your post (social media is not meant to replace networking, but can blend with it and even enhance it). It is not just about the people you know, but it is more about how people know you.

Evaluate your network and ask what stories they tell about you. What do the stories reveal about you as a person – values, style, skills, performance, etc.? Are you consistently delivering value and results to stakeholders, peers, customers, community, etc.? What distinguishes you from others in your field, industry or workplace?

Remember that networking requires a lot of interaction and being involved in common endeavors that establishes your credibility. So how does one build a solid, strong, and wide network?

Within your organization, volunteer to join a task force or a special project even if it is beyond your job description. Make yourself known and seen by other employees outside your department. Deliver consistent work quality and always follow through on your commitments. Serve as a mentor to other employees or join cross-functional teams. Be involved in activities that will increase your visibility and help develop meaningful relationships. Do not complain about additional workload, but reframe your mindset and look at the opportunities.

It is also a good strategy that you do not confine yourself to just within your company. Join an external professional organization, be an active member, or volunteer to lead a committee or a project. It may mean sacrificing your weeknights or weekends, so you can participate in volunteer work. Be reminded however that you should not spread yourself too thinly across many organizations only to build superficial connections. Select just a few and take an active role in them to establish meaningful relationships.

Write a blog or speak about your passion, your expertise, or your interests. Do not leave passive comments, but establish active, two-way communications on the World Wide Web. Share articles or email them to friends who would benefit from it. Pose questions or solicit ideas. Participate in discussions and be open to healthy discourse.

Socialize and make yourself seen and felt in events. Celebrate a friend’s birthday, show up and offer moral support to a colleague who is hosting a public event, send thank you cards to those who have made an impact on you and express your gratitude to them.
You may also go back to school, attend a training, and reconnect with high school or college friends.

Share job leads or other opportunities. Invite friends to seminars or events that will also benefit them. You never know you might be sharing something very significant to them, which they will forever be thankful for.

However, do not just go out and mindlessly spread your wings. Remember that networking is not just about what you get or who you meet. It involves denying one’s self for the benefit of others. It is not just about you, but it is about establishing reciprocal relationships. As an African Proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”

Coronavirus and the workforce: How We Can Handle Redundancies in the Philippines

Talks about the coronavirus have been around since the start of 2020, but it was only until March 15 that President Duterte announced a lockdown that would continue for up to this day.

Since then, the country has gone through various phases of the lockdown in an effort to curb the infection. From the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to the more lax General Community Quarantine (GCQ), the government aimed to limit physical contact on a larger scale by limiting outdoor activities, maintaining social distancing, and implementing curfews everyday.

These health measures resulted in the closure of businesses, reduced work hours, and forced digital operations in order to adapt.

Some companies have also leaned in a more skeleton staff to survive the changing times, but what if it’s time to let go of people?

Here’s how you can handle a redundancy in the time of COVID-19.

What is redundancy?

The term redundancy is used to describe excess positions that are unnecessary or exceeds the amount of manpower that is actually needed by the company. This happens when an establishment overhires people, decreases its operations, or drops a previous product line or service activity.

This is different from retrenchment, where a company let go of employee/s to prevent losses and continue its operations.
The legalities of redundancy
Article 283 of the Philippine Labor Code covers what you should expect as an employer or employee.

According to the law, any company that wants to lay off an employee due to redundancy must have the following qualities:
a. Good faith in abolishing redundant positions
b. Fair & reasonable criteria in selecting employees to be terminated
c. Adequate proof of redundancy

Aside from these, the company must send out written notices to the said employee/s and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) at least thirty (30) days before the day of dismissal.

In terms of pay, the also states that employees who were let go due to redundancy “shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher.”

Violations of this law may result in the illegal dismissal of an employee.

How to handle redundancies

Redundancies are often the last resort of most companies, especially at a time like this. It is a difficult decision that needs to be carried out when the time comes. Here are a few tips on how you can go through the process more smoothly.

Be honest and fair
Employee redundancy can be a stressful and emotional time for everyone, but it is best to keep our emotions in check and give them an honest overview of the situation. Try to set up a video meeting with the employee for a more humane approach. Allow him/her to ask questions but don’t try not to rationalize or bring up a past incident to prove your point.

Provide a reasonable timeframe
No one wants to be laid off out of the blue, so be patient in guiding them towards every step of the way. During a one-on-one meeting, you can explain the process thoroughly with an online presentation as you discuss the most likely outcomes. In the end, the goal here is to make sure that the employee fully understands what’s happening.

Keep everyone in the loop
It might sound awkward, but it’s probably the best route. Letting the affected and the unaffected parties inside the company know the cause and effect of redundancy in the workplace will improve (or at least retain) employer-employee relations. You can schedule a team meeting as well as an email blast to let the word out.



COVID-19: How to Help Retrenched Employees in Their Career Transition

COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is notorious not only for claiming lives⁠. Ir’s also known for taking people’s income sources. 

You might have noticed some of the most badly hit industries had to downsize their operations on a full scale for the long-term. If you’re one of those companies, you might be wondering how you can help out your soon-to-be former employees handle unemployment during a pandemic.

Here’s how you can help retrenched employees during a career transition.

What is retrenchment?

Retrenchment is an authorized cause used to legally dismiss an employee to prevent serious losses from the company. This is different from redundancy, which legally dismisses employees due to excess manpower. Companies should only use this as a last resort.

According to Article 283 of the Philippine Labor Code, employers must be able to provide the following requirements:

Valid proof that retrenchment will prevent reasonably imminent and substantial losses

A written notice to the employee/s & the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one month before the termination date

Separation pay for retrenched employee/s equivalent to a month or a ½ month pay for every year of service

Fair and reasonable criteria by the employer on who will stay and who to lay off

Must be undertaken in good faith, such as providing valid evidence of cost-saving efforts in the past to continue operations

Due to the current pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment has also released Labor Advisories 9 and 11, aiming to guide employers with other alternatives before resorting to downsizing.

How to handle retrenchment

Schedule a one-on-one session

Retrenchment can take an emotional toll on both sides, so there’s no better way to deal with it than having a private discussion with each affected employee. Allow them to voice out their concerns and try to respond in a clear yet respectful manner. At the same time, take this as an opportunity to remind them what the company does stand for.

Push for relevant virtual seminars 

Keeping the morale high during a time like this can be challenging, but it’s a shot worth taking. Apart from exit interviews, you can invite employees to free virtual seminars or even hold one inside the company. Talk about topics that they’ll be interested in post-retrenchment, such as mental health, personal finance, networking, or career development.

Manage the team’s expectations

Laying off people, whether they’re just a handful or a large number, can stir up trouble where you don’t want to. Don’t let gossip turn into a lawsuit by clearing up the confusion right from the get-go. Explain the current situation in a simple and concise manner.

Provide valuable resources

Perhaps your employees may need more than just a pep talk. This is the best time to supplement your post-retrenchment plan by providing free and useful resources they’ll be interested in. Send out documents on self-care, career, and budgeting; Provide them with contact lines for counseling or assistance; list out government advisories that they’ll need during the job hunting process.

Retrenchment is never easy for anyone—transition employees and organizations to the right path with LHH Philippines today.

Lee Hecht Harrison is a respected institution known for its thought-provoking insights and globally competitive strategies in this changing world.

Get the help you need today by calling us at 0998-596-3391 or click here to shoot a message.