Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies seemingly have no other choice but to layoff portions of their workforces. While layoffs are never easy, the grave and fast-moving nature of the coronavirus situation led many businesses to handle the process hastily. In some cases, notice was given through an unexpected group video call or generic email. At times, companies had originally vowed not to layoff team members only to change course just days later abruptly.

While moving forwards with a layoff might be unavoidable, leaders do have choices regarding how the process unfolds. If you’re looking for a better way to handle employee layoffs, here’s what you need to know.

Set Your Emotions Aside and Focus on the Employee

In many cases, companies only move forward with layoffs if they are struggling. It’s a stressful time for the leadership team on many fronts. However, you can’t let any of that bleed into your layoff conversations.

When you plan to discuss a layoff with an employee, come from a place of compassion. Set your feelings aside and recognize that, while you may be worried about the organization’s health or upset that you have to share bad news, this person is about to be out of a job. There’s a good chance that they’ll be sad, startled, fearful, or angry, so they don’t need the ramifications of your emotional baggage on their shoulders as well. Be kind and supportive, and, above all, focus on them.

Conduct All Layoff Calls One-on-One and Over Video

Under normal circumstances, most employees would learn that they were laid off during an in-person meeting with their manager. With social distancing being part of today’s paradigm, that may not be an option. However, that doesn’t mean you should default to email or voice calls.

Ideally, you want to speak with each worker one-on-one. Additionally, try to coordinate a video call when possible. This is the polite and professional way to go, ensuring the employee can ask questions and that they get the respect they deserve.

Keep the Core Message Consistent Across Every Conversation

If the layoff involves more than one person, spend some time considering the message you want to share. It’s best to disseminate news using a uniform approach and consistent repetition. Embrace transparency and be as straightforward as possible. Give every employee the same reasoning while detailing all available resources to each one.

By focusing on consistency, you reduce the chances that your message will get muddied or that you’ll come across as dishonest. Inconsistencies can be harmful, especially if they may indicate (unintentionally or otherwise) that bias may be in play.

Ultimately, managing layoffs is difficult regardless of the circumstances. But, by following the tips above, you can handle the process better, ensuring you approach the situation professionally.

If you’d like to learn more about how to navigate challenging personnel issues, the staff at TempStaff can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our workforce management expertise can benefit you.



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