None of us want to have to lay off staff members, not only because it’s uncomfortable having these conversations and sad to have to let people go, but also because it means they didn’t work out or business plans have changed.
However, the reality is that layoffs are a standard part of doing business, especially during turbulent times like the ones we’ve been seeing in the past three years. If you need to say goodbye to some of your workers over the coming months, here are some tips to help you do so more effectively.
Be as Transparent and Kind as Possible
Firstly, be as transparent and kind as you can with the people you need to say goodbye to. No one wants to hear that they’re being laid off, and it’s often a great shock for the recipients of this information. Help them by being compassionate in how you deliver the news. Wherever possible, be open about the reasons behind the decision so that laid-off workers can understand why they’re in this position.
If you can communicate more details than a vague “cuts needed making” statement, you can help people accept the news sooner. Most people believe they must have done something to cause their name to be chosen for layoffs, even if this isn’t the case. As such, if you know that the decision truly came down to a cash flow situation, a restructuring of roles, or a need for someone with more experience over the coming years, etc., it may help them to know these specifics.
Provide People with the Time to Vent or Talk or Ask Questions
In addition, try to allow the laid-off workers you’re saying goodbye to the time to spend a few minutes or more venting, talking, or asking questions, as per their needs. Be a listener, not just the deliverer of tough information, and not only the laid-off workers will feel better, but the staff you’re retaining, too, at seeing that you’ve been as free with your time and compassion as possible.
Rather than bustling out personnel who are suddenly dealing with bad news that may stir up lots of negative emotion, give them a chance to compose themselves before they leave the office.
Have Security on Hand if Needed
It’s best to keep security workers out of your office when telling people they’ve been laid off, as this presence can make them feel more anxious and watched. In particular, try not to have fired employees have to pack their belongings in a rush and exit the building ASAP. Leave dignity intact wherever possible.
However, don’t be afraid to call the security guarding services in your building or those on retainer for your organization if you see that one or more employees are getting too agitated. If people start becoming too aggressive, or if they violently throw things, swing things around and the like, or even make serious threats, it’s best to have qualified security guards in the vicinity who can deal with the trouble.
Make Outplacement Services Available
Another tip to rememberregarding layoffs is that it pays to make outplacement services available for people. These services are all about helping those being let go to update their resumes and job application documents, research potential openings of great roles, and practice answering interview questions.
Outplacement services can involve connecting laid-off personnel with potential employers via networking opportunities and assisting them in creating a career plan and identifying potential firms to target in their job search. This is an upfront expense for the organization that you may be resistant to at first, but remember that this support will help laid-off workers to feel better and get new jobs sooner and, in turn, talk about your firm more favorably over time.
Enable Remaining Staff Members to Access Support
Lastly, don’t forget the workers you haven’t laidoff. Pay attention to the morale in the office, especially if a big chunk of the workforce has had to be told they’re being parted ways with and those left feel guilty about staying or are simply shell-shocked.
People may find it hard to get motivated again after many changes, so you might like to enable your remaining staff members to access some support to cope with the raft of feelings they get.
For example, you might provide people with free or discounted therapy sessions, set up some team-building activities for the remaining parties, arrange a staff retreat, or remind your team that your door is open if they want to discuss their concerns.
Conducting staff layoffs isn’t something to be excited about, but you can manage the process more effectively by following all the tips above.