Where to Begin: 4 Steps to Consider when Making a Layoff

Making the decision to eliminate positions at your company is never easy. Whatever the reason – merging, downsizing, outsourcing – create a strategic plan that addresses your teams’ questions and aligns with your company’s values, business objectives, and mission.

With a comprehensive plan in place, you will be prepped with the tools and resources you need to support your separated employees, put the remaining team at ease, and ensure success moving forward. Start with the steps below to begin the planning process.

1. Stay in front of the potential negative effects the reduction in force will have on your organization and brand as a whole.

From your organizational structure to your local community, a reduction in force touches more people that just the separated employees. Take time to analyze the external, legal, and financial effects of this change and create a plan for addressing the shift in the media. And don’t forget to strategize ways to protect your brand reputation after the news is delivered.

2. Prepare managers with the skills, information, and language they need to properly notify employees that they will be leaving the organization.

Notification discussions are hard on everyone. Sit down with the notifying managers to discuss the reasons behind the layoff, which departments and functions will be affected, and what you will do to maintain the productivity and morale of your ongoing workforce. Provide them with resources to prepare for difficult conversations and the various scenarios they might encounter on notification day.

“No matter what the plan is, make sure that employees are treated with dignity, respect, and consistency,” says Michelle Morettini, Manager of Outplacement Services at IMPACT Group. “When these things are taken into consideration, separated employees are better positioned to make a healthier transition into another job.”

3. Create severance packages for employees and determine which outplacement transition services you’ll engage to empower your separated colleagues.

Review your company’s current packages to determine if changes need to be made to the existing plan and how the packages will differ between executive, management, and non-management employees. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” says Michelle. “This isn’t an easy process, nor should it be.” Devise a plan for offering outplacement services to separated colleagues to enhance their ability to quickly land the best position for them. “Partnering with an organization that has been there before and has the training, tools, and resources to support both separated and remaining employees can make a huge difference.”

4. Maintain the morale and performance of the remaining employees.

Transparency is vital after the change, and remaining employees will want to know your plan for the future. Michelle points out that, “while [remaining employees] were not laid off, chances are they have emotions and opinions about what happened.” Consider hosting “survivor” workshops to address their specific questions and needs. While developing your going-forward plan, create a strategy for supporting high-potential employees, hold company-wide meetings to address questions and issues, and redistribute workloads as needed.

IMPACT Group has insights into the unique challenges separated employees face. Our experts will consult with your company and suggest targeted strategies for addressing everyone’s needs during a difficult staff reduction. Explore our complete guide to outplacement services here.

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