There’s three things that companies often overlook when it comes to planning a layoff.
The first is logistics.
Where these conversations take place between your managers and employees is a really critical aspect of the planning process. If you have an open-floor plan office, you don’t want to have these conversations in the middle of that office where everyone can hear or if they can see what’s going on.
Now, that may sound obvious, but I can’t tell you how many stories we’ve heard of that exact thing happening and it not going very smoothly. Ideally, managers and/or HR professionals will have these conversations with the employees in a private office away from the main working areas, which gives both the manager and the employee the privacy that is needed. Often employees will have emotional reactions, and you want to give them the space to have that emotional reaction and the privacy to compose themselves before they move on to those next steps.
The second thing that’s often neglected is messaging.
How you deliver that message, what the ultimate message is, is really important, and you want to put a lot of thought and foresight into how you put that message together. You want to make sure that you give a clear reason behind the reduction. You don’t want to speak in generic terms. Employees want to know what’s going on, and they deserve some clarity and honesty around the reasons behind the message.
Now, that also ties into your employer brand. As we know, the second this message goes out, people are going to be hopping on social media, Glassdoor, etc., and sharing the information with the world, and so, you want to make sure that that message that you share is ready for public consumption and is one that maintains your brand. Layoffs happen, it’s a business necessity, but how it’s handled and the message around it can make the difference between damaging your employer brand and maintaining your employer brand.
The third thing that’s often overlooked when planning a layoff is providing transition assistance to those employees who are leaving the organization.
Hearing the news that you’re losing your job is incredibly difficult, and then going out into the wide world and having to find a new job is equally difficult. So, by providing assistance to those employees, in the form of coaching, new resumes, job leads, etc., you’re giving those employees a soft place to land, which, an added benefit to the employer, helps maintain your brand.