7 Min

Tips on employee layoffs

November 12, 2021

Henceforth, the ability to cope with the layoff must be part of our workplace education. After the pandemic, when we accosted industry shutdowns, I experienced some hitherto rare situations, which forced me to think about the matter of how to cope with the staff layoffs; it is morally important to follow at least a humane and socially correct approach when we are tightening the budget by laying-off some people. 

This can be shocking in times of national hardship, or even in regular routine. Not only has it some moral angles, it has also a very professional impact on our branding and the future of the organization in terms of sustainable human resources.

For many, being fired is unexpected and shocking. Unless you work in a seasonal industry that experiences regular layoffs, the layoff means a loss of a chance for a better future for you: You are constantly trying to improve your organization, but suddenly the organization turns its back to you. And now you are an annoyed and lonely unemployed.

It is reported 28.4 percent of unemployed were on temporary layoff in December 2020. But in fact, Twenty-two million jobs vanished abruptly when one month we had into worldwide lockdown.  

In December 2020, 28.4 percent of the unemployed were job losers on temporary layoffs. But to take a quick glance at the past, only in Canada, from 1993 to 1998, the annual number of layoffs has been estimated between 411,000 and 610,000.

So, how to handle the layoff?

Those who read Charles Bukowski's novels might be better able to imagine what contradictory feelings people experience when they become unemployed: excitement, stress, restlessness, frustration, bitterness, and aggression, passively and actively. And, on the other hand, the notion of that they have at least a few days to think about the rest of their lives.

In my experience, and as a human resource manager, it is so difficult, the most difficult honestly, to let go of an employee, a good one, due to the downsizing of the organization. There is nothing as emotional as laying off the staff among my tasks. Needless to say, above all the points I’m going to mention in the following, doing it hastily to avoid wasting the employee’s time is the momentous concern you must care about.

Our employees’ manners are well with us oftentimes, however, it is because they need the job. They are not our friends. So, the idea of inviting them after the work time to spend their time with us and giving the farewell cheque is not that fantastic when I put myself in their shoes. Keep in mind, we will change their lives and this is dramatic enough itself that then they would want to be alone and free after hearing the news. Some of the most common reactions they will be involved in are listed below:

  • Denial
  • Resistance
  • Aggression
  • Sadness
  • Bitterness 

The best gift here is to inform them as soon as possible, but before this, we need to check out some tips.  

Treat them with a highly respectful behavior 

Compassion, empathy, and understanding could be some good reactions in this specific situation to what people want to say when they are about to be laid off. There are some tips to consider as measures of respect to others: 

  • Acknowledge the employee’s dignity;
  • Have empathy for their lives’ situation;
  • Validate their contributions;
  • Avoid gossip, teasing, and other unprofessional behavior;
  • Practice transparency;
  • Value their time. 

Respect for others is defined by a sense of admiration and respect, and dignity is the belief that all human beings have intrinsic value and deserve fundamental rights and fair treatment. Overall, if you treat them respectfully, then they will treat you better. It is a fact.

I can refer you to one of my experiences. My boss wanted to lay off some women in order to tighten the budget. That woman was so aggressive about her position in our company. My supervisor wanted me to handle the situation. In that evening, firstly I hinted at her abilities in self-controlling. This made her a bit calm. After that, we were talking about the hurdles that our business was facing up. This practical transparency led her to think that she was somehow at risk in this position. All in all, with this kinda tip of treatment, I was able to control that bossy employee.  

Keep out the gossip of laid-off individuals

For an employer, one of the main dangers of this process is that the rumors reach the elite levels of the organization and as a result, their top talent gets another job. And, employees have the right to look for new work. But keep in mind, as long as you are downsizing, you need to reassure those who are going to continue with you that, no, we are not that bad at resources. But, on no account mustn’t you be unsupportive. Even when they are about to go.


Offer as much support as possible

It is clear. We as organizations are stronger than them as individuals. Whenever a person is about to be unemployed, we can search out our circle to find a position even temporary. Moreover, we can ask them if there is something we must hear of them. Sometimes they need some pieces of advice and surprisingly it helps. 

When Felicity was leaving us, I told her it would have only taken a few weeks. Take an online course and enhance your skills. Even at a basic level. Some companies or institutes will trust you as soon as you have multiple skills or certifications in your CV. Surprisingly, Felicity followed suit, and two months later she got a job at a transnational company at a position that was even higher than mine that was in the higher class.


Communicate genuinely

Plus facile à dire qu'à faire, but attempt to be genuine while you are speaking to them. When communication occurs, it typically happens in one of these three ways: verbal, nonverbal and visual. You should communicate candidly by all of the layers of the conversation. I want to add a new layer even. Listening is a part of the play. Try to listen to it. Maybe they have some advice for you and this can help out.  

Your advice to the employee might also be in an informal way. We might talk to the staff about what is going on in our business and on what field you are thinking they may find a vacancy.


Consensus building

Consensus building means trying to reach a bilateral agreement. This means that you make a philanthropic effort to secure the interests of all your employees as well as the company to reach a mutual agreement so that you do not have any problems in the future. A consensus-building approach allows both parties to reach a final agreement between the relevant stakeholders and maximize possible gains for all.

Nevertheless, there are some issues on consensus building we’d better consider in order to act more proper: 

  • It is Time-consuming;
  • So Compromise;
  • The wrong impression oftentimes;
  • The habit of consultation;
  • Not necessarily the best decision.

Build resilience 

Resilience is a quality that can be created by creating four unique characteristics: first is self-awareness, which means being aware of our strengths and weaknesses, two is awareness, and third is self-love, which leads to being a self-considered character. Fourth, positive relationships and, finally, being goal-oriented. By strengthening these cases, we in turn find more resistance.

In connection with a dismissal case, the employee intended to reach his or her own aim with a quarrel. At the time, I suggested to company executives that they allow things to go according to that person's routine. In fact, we did not hint at him when he was wrong. After he filed a lawsuit against us, our lawyers entered into negotiations, and all the energy he had expended, simply was wasted. This was the result of the strength of our foundations, which were based on positive relationships and self-awareness.

Focus on the future

Research on the relationship between individual psychology and focus on the future shows that thinking about the future - commonly known as futurism - can help us live a more generous and fulfilling life. People are often upset about the current termination, but the important thing is to look to the future. Studies signify prospecting about the future can enrich our lives in four ways:

helps us make more prudent decisions;

  1. helps us make more prudent decisions;
  2. motivates us to achieve our goals;
  3. improves psychological well-being;
  4. makes us more kind and generous. 

I always tell Felicity's success story to even those in their forties, which of course makes co-workers humor me, but is always a good way to end a meeting with the employees, whose careers are about to meet an ending.


Salary reduction

This is a not-so-ethical solution. But in some cases, it can motivate many to think about changing jobs and come up with the idea that it is better to leave the job to look for a better vacancy.

One way is to not even give overtime or bonuses or any other form of privilege that you have already given. If you already have lunch, you can skip a meal for a while.

Final words: Miscellaneous considerations 

In this part of the article, it is not bad to more or less deal with the issues that haven't been considered in the form of the above topics. 

First of all, the meeting should be attended by at least two managers of the company. Try to tell the employee you are laying off in one of the private offices in your company, not in outer space. Another point is that a relaxing drink can break the weight of the meeting. It is better to put some chocolates in front of your employee.

To sum up, respect and focus on the future while dealing with support is the key to holding a successful consensus meeting. Explain the real reasons why the changes in the company have happened. Let the staff know that the layoff doesn’t reflect your impression of them or their reputation.

 Stay tuned for the next blog because I’m going to provide you with more tips on how to tackle other workplace issues. 


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