A consultant says, “I remember the call like it was yesterday…my boss said I was being let go. At the time I thought my life was over. Looking back, I realize it was just beginning.” Unfortunately layoffs are happening more frequently, but there are ways to deal with them. Let’s look at some of them. If you are the employer: Being a general calls for different talents than being a foot soldier. Layoffs aren’t just about the people you’re letting go; the ones staying on are watching to see if you’re compassionate, trustworthy, and transparent. If your actions tell them otherwise, your layoffs will cause morale, productivity and performance to plummet. If you create a crisis of confidence it can have a disastrous effect on the company. So how should you handle layoffs? (a) Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Get out with your people and provide as much information as possible. (b) Explain the situation and the finances; let them know where the organization stands. Explain why you have to let workers go. Once people understand, they’re more likely to accept it. (c) Be honest. Let employees know where they stand. They’d rather know than not know. They’d rather have certainty than uncertainty—even if it’s bad news. (d) “Don’t ever forget kindness and truth.” Never treat those you’re laying off like a number. Treat them right, and your other employees will treat you right. Offer support, guidance, coaching, encouragement and hope. (e) Don’t prolong the agony with multiple rounds of layoffs. If possible, do it just once.
Published on Monday, November 7, 2011 @ 6:10 AM CDT