How to communicate layoffs

Sixteen guidelines to keep in mind should you need to layoff employees.

Sixteen guidelines to keep in mind should you need to layoff employees

How companies convey layoffs reflects their values. Every situation is unique, but here are communication guidelines that I hope you never need.

1. Avoid a “bolt from the blue.”

Regularly brief employees on the condition of your business so that a cutback does not blindside them. A vice president I know did such a good job communicating that he got a standing ovation when he announced a plant closing. Employees wanted him to know they appreciated his efforts to keep them in the loop.

2. Scrupulously plan

Plot every step of a closing or layoff announcement like a complex military maneuver.  The order of “battle” is crucial.

3. Tell supervisors first

Stunned personnel may not remember all you say and will later grill their supervisors for clarification. Let supervisors know what you know so they can repeat the important information. They can even participate in notification planning. You’ll need their support.

4. Communicate fast

Since word will rocket after the first notifications begin, tell employees quickly to minimize the period of uncertainty.

5. Notify personally

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.