Reductions in workforce often elicit fear and uncertainty. However, by conducting layoffs with compassion and effectiveness, companies can build credibility and even mature through the process. Let's dissect the DNA of layoffs that garner respect, not resentment.
- Early Communication
The first brick to lay in your foundation of trust is early, transparent communication. As soon as layoffs loom as a real possibility, loop in your employees. Knowledge dispels rumors and mitigates fear. By allowing employees insight into the business problems necessitating layoffs, you not only keep the rumor mill at bay but also demonstrate respect towards your employees.
- Explore Alternatives
Before reaching for the layoff lever, exhaust other options to save money and boost efficiency. Efforts to avoid layoffs, even if unsuccessful, reflect a company that values its employees. Your actions will echo louder than words when employees witness your dedication to retaining talent.
- Non-Discriminatory Practices
Who gets laid off should be guided by ethical guidelines and legal norms, not office politics or favoritism. From eliminating shifts to department-wide downsizing, the methods to determine layoffs vary, but the principle remains the same – impartiality. Remember, every layoff needs a solid business case.
- Timing Matters
When the inevitable arrives, timing is key. Opt for layoffs early in the week, giving employees time to apply for unemployment benefits and start job searching. Avoid the anxiety-filled weekends when options for action are limited.
- Leverage Outplacement Services
Finally, ensure you provide a healthy severance package coupled with outplacement services. This mitigates the impact of layoffs, accelerates job hunting, and reduces potential litigation. Outplacement is often the key element of a well-managed reduction-in-force. For example, Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, provided outplacement during the COVID-19 crisis, earning the company respect amidst tough times.
Outplacement Services signal your commitment to fairness to all stakeholders, including surviving employees, customers, and shareholders, thus safeguarding the brand reputation.
To traverse the legal landscape of layoffs smoothly, consider consulting with an employment law attorney. They can guide you in navigating this challenging process legally, ethically, and compassionately.
Conducting layoffs is a challenging process that tests a company's values. Remember, while employees may forget why layoffs were necessary, they will remember how they were treated. By following these five key practices, you can turn a difficult time into an opportunity for growth, trust, and brand enhancement.
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