Tips for having Layoff Conversations with Employees

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the job market drastically. Not only have there been no jobs, but there have also been massive layoffs by reputed companies and organizations. Many companies shut down in addition to smaller businesses, and employees are rendered jobless and without regular pay. This situation has been challenging in the HR department who has to convey the layoff message to the employees.  Also, managers are not only dealing with the stress of letting go of their team members and employees; many of them are having anxiety issues about the uncertainty of their positions. 

Have the right layoff conversation and delivering the message is essential for an organization. This will not only convey a suitable message to the employees but will also ensure organizations do not set them off on the wrong note. Before laying off employees, it is essential to consider if the layoffs are necessary. Cost-cutting of an organization at this turbulence time is understandable, but not a constant recession situation.

Layoff Conversations with Employees

In particular, the HR department and managers should focus on resourceful and creative thinking to understand how an organization can save as many jobs as possible. Preparing oneself before getting into a layoff conversation is also essential. Figure out “how and when the layoff news will be delivered to the employees individually. Also, it is necessary to disseminate information about the way forward of the employees and the benefits they would receive during the conversation. This will ease their anxiety down a tone!

Layoff Conversation with Employee

Layoff Conversation

Setting the Right Tone

The right tone in a layoff conversation is essential. The HR or the manager should take extra care to deliver the layoff news to the employee with empathy and compassion. The aim of the conversation should be to treat people with dignity and respect. Layoffs impact the managers too, and in situations like this, it is worse. Managers should understand that the termination is not about them but because of the problem. They shouldn’t succumb to the insecurities but engage in a good conversation. 

Be Direct

The layoff conversation should be direct and straightforward. Even though a direct message may seem cold to many, it is the best way to help the employee process it- it is no use beating around the bush!  Express gratitude for the efforts and hard work the employees have put in for the organization. Also, offer a short explanation about the company’s present economic conditions and the situation that led to the layoff. 

Offer Assistance 

Organizations should be readily available for the laid-off employees to provide the support and counsel they might require. However, it is necessary not to overdo and overcommit to avoid unhealthy situations later. Always recognize that the employee may need time to process the layoff news and might have doubts to clear.  Be helpful to them and give information as and when required. But, don’t overcommit to things and give false hopes that the organization can never deliver. 

Always be Transparent

One should always be transparent when it comes to layoff conversations. If an employee is laid off, their coworkers may face anxiety about their job surety and have a tough time handling the situation. Comfort them and offer them an explanation about the situation. Always be transparent and accurate to the conversation. Conduct a question-answer session with the rest of the employees to avoid any rumors and doubts. Give the rest a proper explanation about why the layoff was necessary.

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Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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