Right-Sizing: Navigating the Tides of Change

At wattsnext we have observed firsthand the evolving dynamics of the Australian business landscape. Over the 17 years we have operated as HR Consultants we averaged 2-3 right-sizing projects a year. Over the past 6 months its has been 2-3 a month, a clear indicator of the pressure on small to medium businesses. Right-sizing, in this context, isn’t merely a strategy; it’s a necessity, a nuanced art of balancing business efficiency with a deep respect for our workforce. Drawing from our extensive experience, I want to share our insights on the pivotal trends reshaping our approach to business and how we, at wattsnext, are ready to guide fellow business owners and senior executives through these emotional transformations.

Our Observations in Today’s Market: 

  • Economic Uncertainty: The dance with global and local economic shifts continues, affecting business strategies at every turn. It’s crucial to stay agile, responsive to the Australian Bureau of Statistics latest economic indicators. 
  • Rising Operating Costs: Businesses are facing a steady climb in costs, from rent to wages. The RBA’s insights into small business conditions underscore the necessity of strategic efficiency. 
  • AI Advancements: The digital revolution marches on, demanding adaptation. Embracing technology and specifically AI is no longer optional but essential to stay competitive. Individual roles and business structures are evolving faster than we have ever experienced. 
  • Employee-Centric Workplace: The recent shift towards an employee-driven market, emphasising flexibility, the right to disconnect, and work-from-anywhere policies, has reshaped the employment landscape. Coupled with high wage expectations, this has significantly impacted business operations, pushing the need for strategic right-sizing. 

The Art of Right-Sizing 

Right-sizing is an art form—a delicate balance of aligning your outcome-based roles and functional business structure with current realities while managing the cultural impact of change. “It is an art to do this well and manage the cultural impact of the change,” a principle that has always guided our approach at wattsnext.  

Fair Work Australia’s stringent rules and processes for making roles redundant underline the importance of navigating these waters with care and compliance. Cutting corners is expensive and can not only affect your business’s legal standing but more importantly its heart and soul—the culture and morale of your team. 

How wattsnext Can Help?

At wattsnext, we understand small to medium business and the complexities of right-sizing in today’s dynamic environment. Our experience with a significant uptick in right-sizing projects over the last six months has equipped us with the insights and strategies needed to support businesses through these challenging times. 

    • Guidance on Navigating Economic Uncertainty: We offer strategic people insights to help your business stay agile and culturally robust during economic uncertainties. 
    • Expertise in Employee-Centric Strategies: Understanding the evolving workplace dynamics is crucial. We provide advice on balancing employee expectations with business sustainability. 
    • Compliance and Process Expertise: With Fair Work Australia’s rigorous standards, we ensure your right-sizing process is compliant, respectful, and effective.

    The smart operators approach right-sizing proactively and while there remains a choice. The journey of right-sizing is complex, requiring a careful blend of strategy, experience, empathy, and compliance. As the market evolves and the pendulum swings, albeit slowly, back towards a more balanced employer-employee dynamic, we at wattsnext are here to support you and your business. Whether you’re navigating the intricacies of an employee-centric workplace or adapting to economic shifts, our team is dedicated to helping you master the art of right-sizing. Reach out to us; let’s ensure your business not only survives but thrives in these transformative times.

    Author: Ben Watts
    Ben is a veteran in the HR space- a forward-thinking leader specialising in functional business structures and people performance techniques. With twenty years’ experience managing large ASX listed corporates across multiple industries, Ben adds depth and expertise to our clients' strategy solutions, genuinely providing a commercial result for their investment.