How to Most Effectively Handle Staff Layoffs

manager mad redundantIt’s never fun having to lay off workers, particularly those who are loyal and have been with the company for a long time. However, there are things you can do to handle the situation more effectively, and to ensure you don’t end up with laid-off employees who are badmouthing the company to everyone they speak to.

Read on for some tips to follow the next time you have to regretfully say goodbye to part of your workforce.

Communicate Openly and Personally

First up, it’s incredibly important to communicate openly and personally when you tell people the news that they’re being laid off. Don’t try to be all hush-hush about the reasons behind the layoffs (unless perhaps required by head office), or try being vague to protect people’s feelings. Keep in mind that failing to get much information will prolong the shock for workers; make it harder for them to move on; and may leave them feeling angry and unappreciated too.

Your communication style needs to be personal. These are people with real feelings and a real history with your company, after all, not just a number on a long list of fired workers. As such, talk about the specific contributions each laid-off employee has made during their tenure with the firm, and what you and/or their colleagues will miss about them.

If there is a particular reason why they have been let go rather than another person, you may want to mention this so that the person can get more closure and know what to work on in future. However, be sure you mention these details in a tactful and supportive way.

Be a Good Listener and Treat People Respectfully

It’s also vital that you be a good listener. When people learn the news of their being let go, they will typically go into shock. They may also have all sorts of extreme and/or negative emotions come up, such as anger, frustration, sadness, regret, envy (of remaining employees), anxiety, and so on.

To effectively handle the situation, give people time to process the news. Don’t rush them out of your office because you have other bad news to deliver; instead, allow them to sit quietly for a time to take in the information and to vent or ask questions. Be a shoulder to cry on if they need it, and help them to know they’re not alone. It helps people greatly if they can compose themselves before they have to go back out into the main area of the workplace and be bombarded by questions or looks from colleagues, too.

As well, treat people as respectfully as possible at all steps of the process. Try not to bring in security or make people have to pack up their desks and exit in a hurry. Employees should be given time to look for a new job, to say goodbye to their teammates, and to leave with dignity.

Give Employees Access to Outplacement Services

Next, something else that makes a big difference to laid-off workers, and to the way they speak about the company (or you) in the future, is making outplacement services available to them.

When people are let go, one of the first things they panic about is how to get another job, or how long it will take for this to happen. You can put their mind at ease somewhat by telling them they’ll be given access to specialized outplacement services firms which concentrate on helping workers find new work.

Outplacement providers can be hired to support people in writing a new resume and other job application documents; putting together a career plan; networking on social media sites like LinkedIn; and practicing answering interview questions so they’re as prepared as possible in interview situations. Outplacers can also help to connect laid-off employees with key contacts such as hiring managers or business owners. This all assists people to not only find new work more quickly, but to feel less stressed about the whole process.

Support Your Staff Who Remain in the Company

Lastly, spare a thought for the workers who remain in the company too. While obviously they’ll be relieved and glad not to have been laid off themselves, they may feel guilty at being kept on when their colleagues, who may have been close friends, were let go.

Mass layoffs, in particular, can be very unsettling for a workforce. You want to ensure company morale stays high, and that the changes don’t have a large and negative impact on remaining employees. Find ways to support your employees then. For instance, gather everyone together for a meal and debrief, or tell everyone your door is always open (or that of a counselor or other qualified person is) if they’d like to talk about stress or anxiety which has arisen around the layoffs.

About the Author

Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. When not researching, editing or submitting content you can find her doing Yoga, photography, D.I.Y crafting and dog training.

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