One of the responsibilities of a human resources professional is to let employees know that their jobs have been eliminated. It is hard to give the news and even harder to receive it.
Just recently, I was involved in communicating a large layoff to employees at a Fortune 500 company. I met with one woman tell her about the career transition services she could take advantage of. The woman was in shock and murmured several times, “How am I going to tell my kids this?”
Recently, my mother-in-law died. Losing a loved one and losing a job have similarities. Both involve losing something that has been a part of your life. Both involve change. When my husband and I told our children that their grandmother had died, we told them the truth, answered their questions and assured them that we would stay a strong family.
If you lose your job, here are some similar pointers for how to tell your children.
- First, take care of you. Take stock of the talents you have to offer another employer. Take stock of the good things you have in your life.
- If you have a “significant other” in your life, tell your partner before you tell your children.
- Use simple language and short sentences to tell your children. Tell the truth.
- Anticipate your children’s concerns. They will want to know how this is going to change their world. They will want to know if you will be okay and if the family will be okay. They may worry about money.
- Answer their questions honestly and simply.
- Allow your children to talk to their friends about this. Allow them to confide in others.
- Finally, realize that your children will be closely watching how you handle this challenge in your life. When they see you bounce back from a setback, it will give them confidence to do the same in their lives.
I told the woman I was meeting with to tell her children the truth. To tell them how she was feeling. To tell them that she would be okay. To tell them that they would be okay. And I suggested that the first thing she do was something she said she had not been able to fit in with a full time job – bake an apple pie with her kids.