There might be nothing more difficult in the business world than conducting layoffs. Not only can laying off employees cause emotional stress, the process can be fiscally detrimental to individuals and families.

However, there are still some practices that are better than others when it comes to cutting your staff. These are some tips for how to announce (and go through) with layoffs in a professional and safe manner.


Don’t Waste Time

If you and your management team have come to the conclusion that there needs to be layoffs in certain areas, you shouldn’t waste any time in completing this process. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should rush into firing people as soon as you feel profits are in danger.

It does mean that once you have done some deliberating, and have officially decided you need to make a move, you need to act. Waiting too long will allow for rumors to leak, which will circulate through your company like a plague.

Once your employees stop trusting management, you’ll have a whole new problem on your hands.


Don’t Avoid the Issue

The easiest thing to do in conducting a layoff is to send out a memo, and hide in your office until things calm down. This is a mistake.

You need to tell your whole employee base why the layoffs are happening and what they can expect going forward. If the people who are staying with your company don’t think you’re being transparent with them, they’re going to start sending out resumes that day.

It’s also important that you don’t shy away from questions from employees. Resist the urge to run. Great leadership requires active management. You will lose the respect of your employees if they feel you can’t face them.


Have Written Answers for People

There’s a lot going through someone’s mind when they hear that they’ve just lost their job. The last thing that they’re going to be doing is listening to every word coming out of your mouth when you announce the change.

Make sure that you offer people some form of written document that expresses everything they need to know about the layoff process. Explain when they will lose health coverage, when they will stop receiving payments, when they should stop coming into work, and anything else that’s crucial to their future. This will help them, and your HR team.

Furthermore, you could find yourself in court with employees if they feel you misled or lied to them. You can get business insurance to help with this. But the easier solution is to just be transparent from the get-go.


Make Sure People Have an Exit

While actually delivering the news to employees that they will be losing their jobs, some will get more emotional than others. It’s possible that a few might even let their tempers get out of control.

In order to avoid any situations that everyone might regret later, it’s wise to give people direct access to an exit when telling them that they’re losing their job. If this is being done in an office, make sure the employee will be able to easily leave if they so choose. And if you’re breaking the news to a whole team of people, don’t do it in a room with only one, narrow exit.

People will often do things not entirely in their control when they hear that they’re losing their job. Prepare for this by choosing and setting up the venue to give people plenty of personal space.


No one wants to tell someone that they’re getting laid off. This process is hard on everyone. Follow these tips to make your employee layoffs hurt a little less.

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