Reduction in Force (RIF) Planning
While we do not currently foresee an immediate need for reduction in force planning, when needs do arise, we all share an interest in making the planning and implementation processes work efficiently and effectively, while being humane and supportive to those impacted. To this end, I will clarify the expectations and recommendations to employing units from Central Human Resources (HR). Please retain this information for future use. The information will also be posted on the ELR website for reference.
The President has requested that HR review and approve all requests to eliminate occupied staff positions prior to any notification of staff. This request is intended to cover all reductions or eliminations of non-temporary staff positions, both merit and professional. (A "smart form" is available to HR Reps to submit RIF plans for review, under the Administration/Systems section of Self Service.) The normal expiration of a professional term appointment, however, is not covered by this request, only the elimination of term positions prior to the end of the term appointment. Employing units are expected to anticipate changing circumstances to the extent possible, so that attrition and reassignments can be used to minimize the need for reductions in occupied positions.
The HR review of reduction in force plans is intended to focus on procedures, organizational impact and the University’s communications regarding the reduction in force. The level of analysis will also depend upon the reason for the proposed action. Anticipated reductions of regular merit or career status professional positions resulting directly from the expiration of grants and contracts may be approved directly by HR, who will in turn notify University leadership of the reductions. For proposals arising from other funding or organizational changes, HR will submit our recommendation to Provost Loh and Senior Vice President True for their review and approval before any notice or other action is taken. In the case of AFSCME covered positions, HR will also coordinate with the Board of Regents Office and the Iowa Department of Administrative Services/Human Resource Enterprise to gain any approvals necessary for reductions under the AFSCME contract. Only after approval is received from HR is a reduction in force plan to be implemented, including any notice to staff members or union representatives. Depending upon the issues and scope involved, HR may assemble a working group to manage the reduction in force, from conception of the plan through implementation.
When initiating a request to reduce occupied position(s), the Senior Human Resources Leadership Representative for the college or division will provide the following information to HR for the organization or unit involved.
Explain in detail the reason for the reduction in force, whether related to grant funding, reorganization, changes in services, etc. The rationale should also serve as basis for the message that will be consistently used to communicate with a variety of constituencies in explaining the reason for the reduction, including the individuals involved, the unions, co-workers, media representatives or other public inquiries.
The rationale should also discuss the impact of the reduction in force on any University operations or services, or on any customers or other relevant constituencies. This impact description should alert University administrators to any points of consideration or concern that may be impacted by the plan being presented.
We have noted previously that staff reductions should not be used as a vehicle to address job performance. (See RIF Decisions in Relation to Job Performance.) However, in the context of professional staff, if a reduction is necessary, job performance can be one of several considerations in the determination of who will be impacted. HR will review the job performance history to assure that performance considerations are considered appropriately in the staff reduction plan.
Finally, the rationale should propose a desired time line for the implementation and/or completion of the reduction in force plan. It will also be useful to highlight any specific factors related to the issue of timing, either to the announcement or potential placement of individuals. HR will try to be responsive to the timeline proposed, recognizing that circumstances may cause the timeline to change at various stages of the planning and implementation processes. Central HR and the units involved will need to work closely to coordinate our efforts throughout the process, including any changes in the actual timeline.
Please also provide the information listed below regarding the individual(s) to be initially impacted by the reduction. If using the "smart form" available on Self Service, some of this information will be completed by the HRIM system.
- Job Code and Classification Title
- Clinical Unit (SEIU only)
- Name of Incumbent
- Current FTE
- Source of Funding
- FTE to be Reduced
- Reason for Reduction:
- Grant Funding Ending
- State Budget
- Principal Investigator Leaving
- Other Budget
- Grant Funding Ending
- Employee Group - AFSCME/Merit/Exempt/P&S/SEIU
- Status, e.g. Probationary/Permanent, Term/Career
- Employment Date Seniority/Career Status Date
- Previous Classifications (if any)
- Current Salary
- Explanation of why this classification and person is impacted – e.g. elimination of duties and/or functions and least senior, special skills, performance (if relevant), etc.
- Copies of the most recent performance evaluation for the individuals impacted should also be forwarded for review, whether or not performance is listed as a consideration.
The explanation element should include a brief rationale as to why this particular person is impacted, in relation to others in the work unit. This may simply relate to their function, or among those with similar functions, may relate to seniority/experience, special skills, demonstrated performance, grant funding and/or any other relevant considerations (note that under the labor contracts, seniority may be the sole consideration). The purpose of this information is to help us anticipate any potential issues, concerns or liabilities arising from the reduction in force, if implemented.
If the reduction in force involves multiple positions or otherwise has the potential to draw attention from outside the University, it may be useful to develop a written communications plan. This would include the rationale described above, a plan to discuss the reduction plan with the labor unions involved, staff council or other constituencies, as well as the designation of a spokesperson for media inquires. HR will also work with University Relations in this regard.
Prior to submission of any reduction in force plan to Provost Loh and Senior Vice President True, the Senior HR representative will be asked to verify the approval and support of their Dean/Vice President/Director.
The HR staff will work with you to review your plans, and make sure the interests of the staff, the department and the University are addressed. This may mean working closely to test any assumptions or probe any issues that can be identified and evaluated. HR will also assist in coordinating all campus resources that may assist in supporting departments or the staff members affected. Once the plan is in final form and has the support of unit leadership, we will submit the plan to Provost Loh and Senior Vice President True for approval to implement. Our goal is to work with both the departments and the individuals involved throughout a difficult time and to try to find positive solutions for all involved. Timeline extensions and other changes in the implementation plan should be communicated to HR, but would not be cause to initiate a new RIF plan in most circumstances.
Please contact ELR whenever you anticipate a possible reduction in force action and we will coordinate the resources within HR to assist you.