How an Employer should properly conduct a Lay-off with Dignity, Integrity & Class

How an Employer should properly conduct a Lay-off with Dignity, Integrity & Class

I am so very fortunate to have great clients. Clients who value their employees, guide and motivate and even inspire them. I am fortunate as well to be at a stage of my career where I get to be highly selective on which companies I will assist with their Recruitment and Staffing needs. I set out to work with diverse industries with diverse staffing needs so that I can keep learning and evolving and never feel like my work days are dull or repetitive. I have proudly become a Small Business Recruitment Company, providing cost effective full service Recruitment Consulting Services to small to mid sized companies who are progressive, innovative and understand the value their employees have to their businesses success and longevity. As a Recruiter of choice serving the Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga and Greater Toronto area, I have watched over the years with great pride, many of my hires become promoted and really leave a footprint in the organization that I helped connect them with. There is no better feeling, akin to matchmaking I suppose and addictive enough to keep me in the game for over 16 years! It is a pleasure to help these clients to find and to hire new talent for their teams. This is my calling, to be a Recruiter, to know how to spot the right people at the right time and help engage them and align them with my clients.

How an Employer should properly conduct a Lay-off with Dignity, Integrity & Class

But what if my client or any employer for that matter needs to terminate or lay off an employee? As an Employer, having to terminate members of your team is among the toughest business decisions you will ever make. How should the Employer prepare? What part can I take in helping to advise them properly so that they and their employee come out ok in the end?

I know firsthand how easy it is for an Employer to make mistakes despite good intentions and leave themselves open for recourse. The impact that can have is wide ranging and can be highly detrimental to their business. This has opened up a whole new door for me in terms of providing Best Practice Guidelines on How to Conduct a Lay-off and a Termination in the best way possible and has lead me to offering a Guide to Successful Career Transition services to include to my Recruitment services. But first, let’s review a few things I have learned for you, my valued clients and for those of you I hope to meet with soon!

Let’s start with preparing for Conducting a Lay-off in the Right way: Some tips and hints:

  1. Choose the right people– Use measureable criteria such as length of service or productivity as a way of establishing who to lay off and ensure you keep the most productive employees. This helps the morale of the remaining employees, or Downsizing Survivors and can reduce the risk of wrongful termination lawsuits.
  2. Time it well– It has been well documented that Friday afternoons and Monday mornings are considered less favourable. I would suggest Tuesday mornings so that you can remain in control of the remaining employee’s reactions and deal directly with issues that arise with those who are affected. The truth is people are going to talk amongst themselves especially when fear is triggered with the remaining employees.
  3. Always conduct a Lay-off face-to-face with an Employee. I’ve heard stories over the years of people receiving news of a layoff through email, social media and even a press release before being told in person. No excuses for this. This naturally leads to the next point.
  4. Be compassionate– Our work is often more than just a job but rather a part of our identity. Anyone who has passion for what they do will relate to this. A lay off can literally change the trajectory of someone’s life for good and for bad. Handle this with care. Compliment them on their work and recognize their impact on the company and manage this smoothly and with dignity. Have tissues handy, pre-arrange transportation, make arrangements for their personal belongings and allow for opportunities for people to say goodbye on another occasion if they would like to.
  5. Prepare a letter which lays out the facts and states their position has been eliminated and outlines key details like their last day, their severance amounts and details and how this will be paid out, details on unused vacation compensation and information on health insurance. The more clear, concise and complete the better. Job loss runs a course of emotions no different than the grief cycle of losing a loved one. Best to cover off the answers to the basic questions here.
  6. Consider providing Outplacement Services to your outgoing valued employees. Include covering the costs of this for a pre-determined amount. Offering Career Transition Services to the laid off employees will definitely soften the blow and directly impacts how quickly these outgoing employees will land back into meaningful employment after leaving you. This offering has a profound effect on altering what happens next once they leave employment with you.

Besides being the right thing to do, these tips can create a smooth transition, limit legal actions, protect your brand and create fierce loyalty from the employees who remain as well as the employees who leave. It simply makes good business sense.

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