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The reality is that layoffs are inevitable for many organizations who need to improve their organization’s financial performance.

But despite the lack of evidence on whether or not layoffs make financial sense or have a significant effect on the company’s performance, layoffs are unavoidable. And because workforce reductions are often necessary, knowing how to handle a bad situation so that it doesn’t worsen is crucial.

Letting go of people can get emotional for the person being laid off and for the people being left behind. What are the best and worst ways to conducting layoffs?

Communicate As Much Information As You Can

So as not to discourage employees, managers often try to avoid being transparent about when the company is not performing well. However, people are smart enough when things are going badly.  By not communicating what information you can, employees will start to talk amongst themselves, start rumors, and spread panic.

Discuss the company’s position to the extent that you can. Explain why layoffs are necessary. This prepares people for what may happen next and not catch them off-guard and unprepared.

Deliver the Message Personally

Now is not the time to delegate. Layoffs are painful, and the news should come from the direct supervisor and not the HR department who the employee has probably spent the least amount with. You can invite an HR representative to sit in while you are delivering the news, but it should always come directly from you.

Allow the employee time to react and process the news. Different people will have different reactions but the most important thing to do once you have allowed them time to absorb the reality of the situation is to get them to start thinking about their futures.

Provide Support

The most common question that employees who have been laid off is “What do I do now?” Often, employees despite hearing the rumors that the company needs to downsize, wait it out to see if they will survive the layoffs. And when they are one of the first to go, they often don’t have a plan in place for what comes next.

They will turn to you for guidance and advice on what to do next. Before conducting the layoffs, be prepared to offer emotional support and insight on the industry’s current job market. Suggest networks where they can begin job-hunting for new opportunities.

Support the Layoff Survivors

Remember that those who were laid off aren’t the only ones feeling the pain; there are those who got left behind or “survived,” depending on how they look at it. Those who survived the layoffs are naturally filled with dread and doubt about the security of their jobs and their future with the company.

While you may not guarantee that there will no more layoffs, you need to address their concerns with as much honesty and consideration as possible.

Did you find value in this blog? If you have time, let’s jump on a call to brainstorm some strategic leadership concepts you may be unfamiliar with…I think you might be pleasantly surprised! Then, without obligation, we can consider if working together would be beneficial.

If that sounds good, you can use this link to schedule a time convenient to you for us to chat: I look forward to furthering our connection and learning more about you and your business.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734