Downsizing, RIFs, layoffs. All are part of the business landscape, but if you think these are mere cost-cutting exercises, think again. Conducting layoffs with compassion and transparency not only upholds your company's core values but also protects your brand image, and assures the loyalty of your surviving employees.
Why, you ask? The simple answer is that layoffs can significantly impact a company's culture and performance, often reverberating through generations of employees. They also contribute to public perception and your brand image, and mishandling layoffs can cost a company in more ways than one. Remember when Uber cut employees loose in a 3-minute Zoom call? Or that Texas-based company that closed four branches overnight without clear communication to their employees? These examples exemplify the negative impact of poorly executed layoffs, leading to substantial financial and reputational damage.
But fear not, businesses can learn from these errors and conduct layoffs right.
The first rule of thumb is to be value-driven. Align your layoffs with your company values and convey the tough message with sincerity, empathy, and transparency. The Airbnb and Salesforce examples show how companies can handle layoffs with grace and still uphold their core values. It's all about open, transparent communication. Keep employees in the loop, address tough questions, and respect their emotional responses.
Next, don’t forget inclusivity. Just as the merger of Service King by Crash Champions showed us, outplacement can and should be comprehensive and inclusive. Remember, your exiting employees' perception of your company will ripple into the world. Supporting all employees during layoffs – from executives to front-line workers – helps you maintain your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Finally, communication is key. It’s the bridge between confusion and clarity during layoffs. It’s also crucial to consider and manage four critical groups: your brand enablers, current clients, surviving employees, and, most importantly, impacted employees. Clear, timely, and honest communication ensures all these groups understand the situation, alleviating any potential concerns.
In the end, it boils down to effective outplacement support. And what does that look like? It involves a mix of personalized coaching, e-learning to navigate the digital job search landscape, and electronic job matching services. When managed with sensitivity, RIFs can lead to positive impacts for your business in the long run.
Remember, layoffs aren't just about reducing costs. They’re about the humane, business-smart approach that keeps your reputation intact, and as the saying goes, keeps you off the front page. So next time you face a RIF, bear these best practices in mind – your employees, your brand, and your bottom line will thank you.
CMP provides solutions across the full talent life cycle. From high-definition search and assessment to high impact coaching and outplacement solutions. As a minority and woman owned firm, we bring a diverse lens and unique results to clients globally. Visit us at: www.CareerMP.com