Why removing middle management can be a short-sighted approach

Why removing middle management can be a short-sighted approach

Redundancies are on the rise. Factors such as economic uncertainty, election-year paralysis, geopolitical unrest and emerging AI technologies are forcing C-suites to consider wide-ranging cost-cutting measures. Middle managers are often considered easy targets in corporate restructures, adding to an organisations’ red tape and not contributing to the bottom line.

Many companies are considering letting go of their middle managers, but removing them can negatively impact your business operations.

The importance of middle managers

Middle managers bridge top-level management and frontline employees; they implement strategic goals and ensure day-to-day operations run smoothly. They ensure the constant flow of top-down and bottom-up communication, coordinate tasks and motivate teams. They also contribute to cross-functional decision-making processes and provide valuable insights.

Middle managers also often serve as employees’ mentors and facilitators, creating a positive workplace culture. Laying them off may result in the following:

  • Disrupted workflow
  • Hindered decision-making
  • Decreased employee morale
  • Loss of institutional knowledge and experience 

Instead of saving money, eliminating middle managers may compromise productivity. It can also slow down long-term organisational success by disrupting essential managerial functions and eroding employee management.

But what are the alternatives?

Cross-training and skill development

By implementing cross-training and skill development programmes for middle managers, you can provide them with additional skills to handle diverse tasks and responsibilities. 

In return, they will become more versatile and valuable within the organisation. This enhances their capabilities and provides the company with a more agile and adaptable workforce.

Redesigning job roles and responsibilities

Check and adjust the roles and responsibilities of middle managers. See if their roles and responsibilities align with the organisation’s current needs. This may involve:

  • Redistributing tasks
  • Redefining job scopes
  • Introducing new responsibilities

This approach allows companies to optimise their managerial structure without resorting to layoffs.

Implementing flexible work arrangements

If possible, introduce flexible work arrangements. This promotes efficiency while maintaining a skilled middle management team. You can offer options like remote work, compressed hours or job-sharing. 

These set-ups can enhance work-life balance, boost morale and retain experienced managers. Additionally, you establish a positive workplace and prove the company’s commitment to adapting to changing work dynamics without resorting to job cuts.

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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