Layoffs are one of the hardest and trickiest aspects of HR. No one likes to let employees go, especially after working with them for many years.
Because of this, it’s important to know how to handle these situations in a way that reduces stress on both you, the HR manager, and the employee that is exiting the organization.
Here’s what you need to know:
Step One: The Meeting
The meeting is one of the most importants parts of the lay off procedure. It is here that the employee will be notified that the company is downsizing and that their job is one of the ones being affected.
You should start by breaking this news fast. No small talk. There isn’t anything you can possibly say to the employee that will make them feel any better about the situation unfolding in front of them.
After you break the news, give the employee time to vent and talk. Listen closely here. Just because the employee is exiting the company doesn’t mean their opinions are invalid.
Once an appropriate amount of time has passed, start going over their benefits, which brings us to our next point:
Step Two: Make Sure You Have An Excellent Benefits Package
A severance payment is the go-to here, but it’s rarely enough to make a difference. There are a lot of things going through your employee’s mind right now, and one of them is how they will find a new job.
To help them with this, offer the employee outplacement services that can aid them in finding new, meaningful work at another organization.
Also, it’s important to go over their standing benefits, such as their 401k or healthcare plans. Having a proper benefits package ensures two things: that your employee is taken care of and that your reputation as a company isn’t tarnished during this rough patch.
Step Three: Comforting the “Survivors”
When a layoff event occurs, it doesn’t just affect those getting let go. It also has a big impact on those that stay. These employees are known as “survivors,” and it’s understandable that they are pretty stressed out by all of these changes, too.
Since they are your remaining staff members, it’s important that you comfort them during this time or some of them may start to look for new jobs at other companies.
The best way to do this is again through the existence of a benefits package. If your surviving staff sees that even those that are let go are taken care of, they will respect the decision more and know that if it happened to them that they would be okay.
It’s also recommended to have support staff on hand for large layoffs to ensure exiting and remaining staff can speak with a professional about all of the day’s events.
Following these simple steps can make a layoff less stressful for everyone involved, including the HR department that is tasked with conducting the majority of the layoff work. Basically, it boils down to a simple fact: take care of your employees even when they are leaving the company and your overall business will be better for it.