How to Navigate Layoffs at Your Company

That's not a valid work email account. Please enter your work email (e.g.
Please enter your work email

As many companies worry about the looming recession that could impact the rest of 2022, many big tech companies are laying off some of their current employees. Netflix eliminated 450 positions , and Tesla laid off 10% of its salaried employees.

While many companies are still struggling to find employees, some companies may need to lay off a few employees. Layoffs are never good for a company, and they can hurt the morale of your remaining employees.

If you need to deliver the bad news to some of your employees, there are some strategies that you can use to try and minimize the damage and make the transition easier. Keep reading to discover what you can do for your company layoffs.

Consider Layoff Alternatives

Before we start, you might want to consider some alternatives to layoffs first. While layoffs are common in businesses, there hasn’t been much research to see if they’re an effective strategy. Many employers will lay off employees to meet your company’s future financial goals or save on their budget. However, many managers won’t look at other strategies that could help your business save money more effectively.

Some alternatives could include identifying and eliminating any inefficient practices or wasting time and money. For example, instead of getting rid of employees, you can use them to use a more efficient process and still save money.

You may also want to try and reduce the number of hours employees work. When you spread this number across hundreds of employees, you can still keep all of your employees while also keeping employees to work on your business.

Some companies also have a voluntary separation program (VSPs). These VSP programs are a positive way for companies to lay off employees still, but they make it the employee’s choice. This option is also more legally safe. Instead of telling employees they’re fired, you give employees the chance to take a severance package and leave the company on their terms. This way, you can still meet your budgetary goals and keep the employees who want to stay.

Come Up With a Strategy

If you can’t follow through with any of those alternatives for some reason, you’ll need to develop a layoff strategy. This will make the transition as easy as possible. First, you’ll need to figure out what positions you want to eliminate and why.

Once you’ve figured out who will be laid off, you’ll have to figure out how to tell the rest of the company. Will you need to have a transitional period for employees that will be laid off? Are you following all the rules and regulations for your country and state? Are you going to offer a severance package? If you’re going to, you’ll need to provide more money for employees going through a transitional period.

You’ll also need to determine how much notice you’ll give to employees that you’ll lay off. If your company has more than one hundred employees, you’ll need to follow specific laws and regulations, so you should always have a lawyer check before you move forward with any layoffs.

Be Open in Communication

Once you’ve ironed out some details, you’ll need to be open and honest with your communication strategy. While you might want to keep some sensitive information confidential, the employees who aren’t being laid off will have questions and be anxious about the state of their job. Employees who are laid off might be angry and resentful, and the best thing you can do is offer honest and transparent communication throughout the whole process.

You should ensure you cover some factors, including why you’re laying off employees in the first place. The decision for layoffs is typically made higher up the chain by senior leaders or the leadership team, and sometimes this information gets lost to employees. A layoff might happen because of a strategy change, budgetary cuts, business model change, or company mergers.

If you can, share why this was the choice that was made. Is the demand for the product or service your business offers lower than expected for that year? Is the company stock not doing as well as some thought? Is it because of a recession? When you give people a reason as to why there were layoffs, they may be more understanding, and there’s less of a chance that rumors will circulate and hurt your employer’s branding and company reputation.

You’ll also want to highlight which people were affected by the layoffs. You should have hiring managers talk to the affected employees at once so that no employee is wondering if they’re next. Once the laid-off employees receive the news, share the names with the rest to understand who is gone. This can be challenging if you have a large business, so you might want to have smaller meetings.

When you share what employees were laid off, share what benefits you provided them. The employees you laid off were likely friends or family of their former colleagues, and they’ll want to ensure that those former employees were taken care of. Show them that you treated those employees fairly and offered severance packages.

You may even want to share how you decided which employees to cut. Some employees could develop a form of survivor’s guilt and wonder why they were kept over their friends. You can share these decisions, but ensure that you check that there are no legal reasons why you can’t. For example, your company might have decided to eliminate employees whose jobs were no longer needed. Or they might have been the newest hire. Or it might have been based on performance.

Lastly, make sure you steer your entire company forward. Layoffs can be difficult, but organizations sometimes need them to move forward. You can alleviate your existing employee’s fears about the uncertain future by showing them a path ahead. When they’re working towards a common goal, this can help ease their concerns that layoffs will become a common thing.

Offer Support

After the layoff, you’ll need to provide support both to your affected employees and current staff. For your affected employees, you might want to see if there’s another area in the company where you could employ them. You might need to offer training, but this can be an easier transition for employees.

You’ll also want to offer a severance package. Even if you’re doing this to save money, you’ll need to provide some separation benefits with money and health insurance coverage. You may even want to partner with a transition firm or outplacement services to offer more support to talent. 

Handle Emotional Aspects

Layoffs can be emotional, and companies shouldn’t just ignore this aspect. While it might be best for the business, for employees, it’s a loss of their job and career. It’s a significant life change, and there will be all kinds of emotions, ranging from anger to sadness. They may even be frustrated with having to find a new job.

This makes it difficult for the senior management team to figure out how to break the news to the employees. However, they can do this while also offering help for the employees to confront these challenges. They should give the employee space to feel these emotions, listen to them, and be supportive.

Learn More About How to Navigate Employee Layoffs

These are only a few things you can do to navigate employee layoffs, but as mentioned earlier, you need to have a strong strategy. However, this can be even more challenging if you must lay off and hire employees simultaneously.

We know that layoffs can be challenging no matter what, especially if you want to hire new employees right after the layoffs. Thankfully, can help you manage that process.

As experts in recruiting and HR processes, contact us today to find out how we can help your company navigate this difficult time.



Get the top recruiting news and insights delivered to your inbox every week. Sign up for the Recruiter Today newsletter.

By Alyssa Harmon