Mass Layoffs Are Not Easy But Can Be Handled Correctly

Organizations layoff employees for different reasons. Cost-cutting due to not meeting financial goals, redundancies resulting from mergers and acquisitions or outsourcing tasks previously handled in-house are among the most common motivations. No matter the underlying basis, mass layoffs leave a lasting impact on the dismissed employees, the staff that remains with the company, and the organization as a whole.

Mitigating the impact of layoffs requires proper preparation and communication. The more coordination and planning invested in the process, the more likely employees will perceive the mass layoff as being carefully considered and not initiated in haste. As a part of the planning phase, establishing a communication framework to convey information and providing support for employees who are being let go is vital to an effective layoff. With the proper groundwork in place, conducting layoffs will progress as smoothly as possible despite the difficult and uncomfortable nature of the situation.

Plan Ahead

Planning is critical. Determine all the details related to the layoffs well in advance of the formal announcement. Any decisions related to severance pay, a continuation of healthcare benefits, retirement benefits, employee assistance and outplacement services should be finalized. Anticipate questions and concerns from employees and prepare answers. Delays in response reflect poorly on management and could potentially upset an already delicate situation.  

Take Responsibility

Whether the cause is poor management and failure to reach financial goals or redundant positions due to a merger, the company leadership is ultimately responsible for downsizing. It’s imperative that management make clear to all employees that the layoffs are not a byproduct of the individual employee’s performance or a single teams efforts. The layoffs are the result of overall company performance and top leadership decision-making.

Managers Should Deliver the News

Layoff notices should be delivered by managers or team leaders that employees interact with on a daily basis. Include Human Resources as support for the process to assist with administrative tasks but not as the primary facilitators. Managers familiar with the performance of the department or team will be much better equipped to answer any questions related to why the layoffs are necessary.

Remember Employees that Remain Employed

Mass layoffs affect the entire company. That includes staff not involved in the layoff proceedings. Overall morale will already be at a low point during the process, but the manner in which the laid-off employees are treated by the company will be closely watched by those remaining employed. Administrating the layoffs with respect and compassion demonstrates to the employees the company still cares about the staff despite the need to conduct mass layoffs.

Employee layoffs are never easy. But with sufficient planning and communication throughout the process, organizations can minimize the overall impact layoffs have on the company. Employees may not remember the day they were hired, but they will definitely remember the day they were let go from the company, so do your best to make the day as professional and organized as possible.