Laying off workers for financial reasons or because of a change in how the work gets done within a company is an unavoidable necessity for many businesses. For those employers in this unenviable position, matters are often made worse by not having a thoughtful process in place before taking the action of laying off staff. Layoff is difficult for everyone involved in the process, but there are some actions that can make a bad situation worse:
Ambush Style Layoffs
How often have you heard stories about companies that use the element of surprise when laying off workers? Typical scenario: The unsuspecting employee arrives to work and is greeted by security or a burly manager from “Shipping” whose role for the day is now “Escort”.
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The employee is led to their office or locker, where someone stands over them while they pack their belongings, then they are shown the door.
The employees’ direct supervisor is nowhere to be found, leaving the dirty work to security or maybe a less seasoned manager.
Who Changed The Locks!
In this scenario, the employee arrives at work and finds that they are not able to enter the building. Or the employee goes to their office and finds that their key doesn’t fit in the lock. Interestingly enough, there is no one around that knows what is going on, or who wants to admit that they know.
The Phone Call
Some employers take the “easy” way out and use this method to avoid facing the employee altogether. The employee gets a phone call letting them know that they should not arrive at work in the morning because they have been laid off. The details are sent to them by mail, if at all.
If any of these scenarios sounds familiar, it’s time to take a different approach! Treating employees callously has an impact far beyond the events of the day.
Best approaches? Meet with the affected employee and tell them why their job is being eliminated. Discuss any details related to pay owed to the employee, and when they will receive their last paycheck if applicable. Give the employee a letter that summarizes your discussion and let them know that you or the appropriate representative is available to answer any questions once they have had time to let the notice of their layoff sink in.
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