Here we go again. Another company planning to lay off workers in a group meeting because it’s easier for the employer to do it this way. How about what’s in the best interest of those who will be laid off and the survivors who will be huddling near the water cooler waiting until it’s their turn to be called into a group meeting? The lesson to be learned from this inhumane approach is clear: Don’t do it. Your employees deserve better. Here are a few tips to help you handle what is bound to be a tough day for all:
- Involve the managers. Layoffs are a major event and should be handled by the person who has the relationship with the employee.
- Give advance notice when necessary. A federal law, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), requires larger employers to give workers 60 days’ notice before a plant closing or mass layoff.
- Don’t hold a termination party in the conference room. Take the time to inform workers individually that they will be laid off. Make it a confidential meeting, provide enough time to answer the worker’s questions, and give departing employees the information needed to take care of matters that will be top of mind.
- Explain the decision. Tell the worker why layoffs were necessary and why he or she was chosen to be laid off. Refrain from discussing others who are also on the list.
- Express your gratitude. Thank the worker for their contribution and be empathetic when delivering the news.
- Discuss next steps. If the company will offer severance, explain the package. Tell the worker when his or her last day will be and what will happen in the meantime.
- Gather the survivors. When the layoffs are complete, bring together those who are still employed and inform them of what has just occurred. Refrain from making promises regarding the future state of employment, as for most organizations this will remain an unknown for some time to come.
I share more timeless tips for tactful terminations in my book, Suddenly in Charge.
What would you add to this list?