After mass layoffs, we all log onto social media and see dozens of posts from employees who’ve been unexpectedly let go. Some people are saddened by the news but understand and respect this business decision. Others may feel blindsided and hurt by how the company let people go.
Every company has to approach layoffs differently. There are legal challenges to consider, such as benefits, severance packages, and federal laws that may protect certain employees from layoffs. Then there’s payroll, budget cuts, and revenue forecasting.
What happens behind the scenes is overwhelming, but it greatly impacts your employees’ perception and the public’s perception of your company. This affects your employer brand.
Your employer brand is your reputation as a workplace. The employee experience, company culture, employee demographics, and talent development initiatives tell future employees that your company is a great or not-so-great place to work.
How you go about layoffs has a significant impact on your company’s reputation and employer brand. People remember how you treat employees, especially during hard times. This will affect your recruiting and retention efforts later on.
So how do you balance the company’s needs and employees’ needs?
Company leaders may not have control over the economic challenges ahead, but they do have control over their workplace culture and how employees are treated when the business has to downsize. To help you navigate these uncomfortable situations, we’ve shared tips on how company leaders can communicate layoffs to employees with respect, transparency, and empathy.
Once your organization has determined that downsizing is the only solution to business success, it’s time to be strategic about how to relay this news to employees. Here’s what to keep in mind:
This dreaded discussion will not be easy, but there is a way to do it respectfully and with transparency. Here’s what to keep in mind during the conversation:
Team members may be hurt, upset, and shocked at this news. They deserve answers, especially when it comes to their livelihood and well-being. Remember to be open to feedback without getting defensive or dismissing their feelings.
Offer as much assistance as possible. After sending the layoff letter, ensure you’re available to write recommendation letters or be a referral.
Remember your remaining employees may also be shocked and are feeling uneasy about their job security. Be transparent with them by sharing:
Giving employees terribly unexpected news and walking away as if nothing happened is one way to damage your employer brand and company culture. While no one hopes for these challenges, they are an opportunity to be transparent with your team, build trust with high-performing employees, and attract great talent when it’s time to recruit.
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