Business 8 effective tips for efficient and honest execution of...

8 effective tips for efficient and honest execution of layoffs


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Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Letting go of employees has never been easier. The longer your employment, the more you understand the demoralizing consequences of being fired. Whether the person who is about to leave deserves it or not, they are still human and must be given the dignity to leave on amicable terms.

After years of personal missteps in this process, as I slowly became more in tune with my emotional intelligence, I decided to create a set of guidelines to ensure no further blunders were made. Here’s what that looks like.

Related: Leading With Empathy Is The Best Way To Avoid A PR Crisis

1. Document performance and handle paperwork

As a harbinger of letting someone go, you should always look at the person’s performance history to determine if you’ve taken all the right steps. I ask myself questions like “has this employee received written warnings?” or “were there significant moments of positive change, and if so, what could have caused the downturn?”

Whenever possible, nothing should come as a surprise to either party. It is essential in the letter of dismissal not only to state the formal reason(s) for the decision and the logistics of the dismissal, but to refer the ex-employee to a contact person familiar with the documented performance and termination for additional questions about salary, benefits and insurance. This must be the HR representative who will conduct the exit interview.

2. Do it face to face

If you are responsible for someone’s involuntary departure, you owe that person at least a personal exchange. Granted, this may be via video chat for those working remotely, but the same sentiment applies. If you’re making the layoff, you’ll need to deliver the news directly and interpersonally. You enable the employee to ask questions and get answers quickly; as a result, both parties can sometimes even reach a certain level of closure.

3. Do it without delay

There’s no point in dancing around the elephant in the room. Chances are, the employee being fired has an idea of ​​what’s going to happen. You don’t want to cause more disappointment by revisiting points of dissatisfaction and reviving old performance conversations. You’ve both passed that point, and if you do let go, you’ll have the aforementioned documentation as your backup.

If the employee you leave early isn’t performance based, be clear that the challenge is restructuring and you had to call. Don’t go into the difficulties of making decisions. This is a moment of loss, and you want to give the employee the space to sit with it. Your role is to break the news and answer questions.

4. Do it with empathy

The fact that the employee you let go doesn’t work with you anymore doesn’t give you the right to be insensitive. You must remain calm and compassionate. If applicable, you must offer the company’s compliance in their role in securing unemployment benefits from the former employee. You should show gratitude for an area where the employee has seen some success. And most importantly, do your best to end on a positive note. Conclude by wishing the employee good luck and, if in person, offering to shake hands.

Related: No one wants to fire employees. Here are some alternatives to layoffs.

5. Do it private and plan the departure

Few things are more embarrassing than being let loose in front of an audience. If you’re bringing the bad news, make sure you do it somewhere private. Then plan an exit scenario that causes the least inconvenience to the departing party (e.g. does the employee have to work the rest of the day, or is it better for them to leave immediately?)

6. Conduct exit interviews

The employee and his manager must have separate exit interviews by HR on the employee’s last day. The exit interview for the dismissed employee must take place immediately after completion of the termination. The HR representative can indicate what the dismissed employee can expect in terms of holiday pay, COBRA and any financial restitution. The HR representative also documents any feedback on the employee’s departure and then confirms the reasons for the termination to the manager, including all reasonable steps taken to remedy the departure before the decision was made.

7. Inform your team

While you don’t have to break the news right away, it’s essential to let your team know about the layoff shortly after the ex-employee’s layoff. It would be best not to wait more than a day to let people know what happened. When you tell your team, it’s important that you do so in person or at the very least via video chat, sharing only the facts in a balanced, professional manner.

Don’t criticize or criticize the ex-employee and avoid the word “fired.” Be as transparent as possible throughout this process, but don’t get caught up in the weeds. Do not go into details of the layoff and remind employees that it is company policy not to disclose personal information. When the rumor mills start, nip them in the bud by discussing their concerns privately with the instigators to get to the bottom of what’s bothering them. Your goal here is to restore damaged morale, make sure employees aren’t distracted from their jobs, and keep their trust in you from being shattered by being open to concerns.

8. Don’t Stand Still

You did what you had to do. If you did it right, you had no other options. Don’t blame yourself for making difficult decisions. As a supervisor, this is part of the training. You can only do so much for an employee who just isn’t playing sports, and if the layoff terms were purely economic, you were in a tough spot to clear up the implications for people above you. Knowing that you did your best for that employee before their layoff is what counts. So, remember to give yourself credit for that, and don’t dwell on what’s gone now.

Related: The 7 Worst Mistakes Companies Make When Laying Employees

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.


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