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Need to Release Employees? An Ethical Approach

You never want to let employees go. Not only does this mean a step back for your organization. It also creates a potentially traumatic experience for the employees impacted. However, these regrettable situations do arise occasionally. When they do, you need to create procedures that handle job cuts as ethically as possible.

Concerns have been mounting about the economy lately. Experts are predicting that a global recession could be on the horizon, amid rising interest rates and stubbornly high inflation.

If the worst happens, you might need to make difficult decisions to protect the long-term viability of your company. These measures could include job cuts. Are you prepared to conduct these disruptive changes in the most humane way possible?

Here are some steps you can take to formulate an ethical approach to the process of releasing employees:

Ethically Going About Releasing Employees

Make a Plan

Before launching a layoff plan, plot out every step of the process. This will let you conduct the painful procedures as efficiently and humanely as possible. Here are some steps to keep in mind:

  • Make sure layoffs are necessary
  • Identify the positions impacted
  • Decide details like severance packages
  • Determine your communication strategy

Offer What Severance You Can

As noted above, part of your planning process should involve thinking about severance. In some cases, there might be contractual or regulatory requirements to keep in mind. However, even absent these restrictions, offer what separation pay you can, so it’s easier for your former team member to get back on their feet.

Talk to Employees Individually (And Don’t Let the News Leak)

Deliver the bad news directly to the employees most impacted by the layoffs. If someone is losing their position, don’t let them learn about it through rumor or second-hand information. As much as possible, they should hear the news directly from your management team, along with all the pertinent details of the process.

Stay Direct

Don’t drag out the process of laying someone off. You aren’t going to be able to cushion the blow — this is bad news, no matter how you spin it. And any attempt to soften your approach could cause confusion and make the situation worse.

Rather, it’s better to take a direct approach. Prepare a script that delivers the news in a straightforward, but respectful, manner.

Walk Them Through the Process

The process of transitioning out of a job can require multiple intricate steps. There might be paperwork involved, as well as easy-to-forget details, like returning company equipment. Have a checklist and timeline ready and guide your former employee through the process.

At the same time, do what you can to ease your employee’s transition. This could include support in filing for unemployment or other services. It could also involve offering access to job-search tools and services.

Allow Time for Questions

The news of a layoff might come as a shock. Your former employee might need time to process. They might also have specific questions that you didn’t cover in your initial discussion. Leave time to answer their inquiries fully, making sure to treat them with respect and empathy.

Communicate with Your Remaining Staff

It’s important to think about the feelings of those employees leaving the company. At the same time, remember to consider the impact the layoffs will have on those staying with you. With a shrinking staff, you’ll need even more effort from your remaining employees. As such, create a communication strategy for the rest of the company.

Looking to Find the Right Team Members for Your Organization?

Even if layoffs become necessary, your goal will be to resume growth as soon as possible. To maximize team-building in any economic environment, turn to proven partners, like Elby Professional Services.

Contact Elby today to find the perfect candidates for your long-term future.

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