By: Megan Barry
Reduction in headcount. A shift in strategy. Layoffs. Downsizing. Are any of these words or phrases being echoed throughout the proverbial hallways of your organization? According to a recent Business Insider article, some of the world's most renowned brands like Peloton, Netflix, and Noom have been caught up in this buzz, as labor costs continue to climb and the post-pandemic market has triggered business growth to trend downward. Other corporate realities like mergers and acquisitions, changing strategies, product modification, job simplification, and organizational culture change, often leave organizations no choice but to terminate employees or initiate layoffs.
Whether you are a seasoned employee when it comes to conducting layoffs or you are preparing for your first notification, preparation is key to navigating layoffs successfully. As you make your way through major organizational changes, it’s critical for business survival that you do the right thing by your people. You also want to maintain your good reputation and manage costs. Here are the top 7 tips for a successful reduction-in-force:
1. Even before the words are uttered, be prepared for layoffs. Choose legal representation to help you answer tough litigation questions and create/review your termination letter; research how to conduct an adverse impact study; discuss with IT what steps would need to be taken, if needed; and choose a compassionate outplacement services partner. Get all your ducks in a row for easy implementation.
2. Once notifications are imminent, timing and planning are critical. Create a termination strategy and timeline for which each event needs to occur leading up to, and during the notification. Termination strategies should include but are not limited to, communication plans, exit strategies, gathering of belongings, IT and security considerations, day and time of notifications, etc. Here is an eBook that details the necessary steps to take when planning for in-person and virtual notifications.
3. On the day of layoffs, treat thy neighbor as thyself. Treat your employees with respect and compassion. If you can help it, refrain from conducting the layoff on the phone, in a group setting, or even worse, via email. Don’t escort employees out of the business as they are criminals. They have given you their time and commitment, do the same for them.
4. Avoid making promises that you can’t keep. Don’t use phrases such as: “as soon as the business picks back up, we will rehire you.” All the employee will hear is, ‘rehire.’ You don’t know if/when the business will pick back up.
5. Communicate, communicate communicate. Even if you or your management team does not have the answer to a certain question – saying, ‘you don’t know' is much more effective than ducking into your office with a closed door for the rumor mill to figure it out.
6. Don’t forget about the employees who will remain with the organization after the shift. Provide equal support to those who stay with the organization and those who are leaving. What is your organizational renewal plan after the notifications? Your remaining employees will be the backbone that keeps your organization together following the layoff, so it’s critical that you’re prepared to support them as well.
7. Offer Compassionate Outplacement Support. Whatever you call it – downsizing, layoffs, mergers, reorganization, or restructuring, an employee losing a job is painful, emotional and often devastating. ICC can offer support, guidance and quickly empower the employee in his or her job search often helping the business mitigate or eliminate long-term, hidden costs of layoffs such as a tarnished reputation and potential legal action.
Even if this isn’t on your immediate horizon, downsizing is something that should not be handled last minute. Preparing for this type of business action is crucial for survival. Don’t take an “aim-fire-ready” approach. Contact ICC today to get your plans in place. www.InnovateICC.com (855)-865-4400.