How-To

How to Handle Layoffs While Supporting Your Workers

how to handle layoffs

How to handle layoffs? This is a pretty tough question. Layoffs are an unfortunate reality for many businesses. They can be tremendously challenging for both the employees and the human resources (HR) professionals responsible for managing them. When faced with the difficult task of supporting workers, it is essential for HR professionals to know how to handle layoffs, as it will help minimize the negative impact on the affected employees and the organization as a whole.

This guide will help HR professionals navigate this challenging process and ensure that support is provided effectively to all parties involved.

How to Handle Layoffs’ Effects

Before we talk about how to handle layoffs, let’s first understand the situation. The word ‘mass layoffs’ is becoming more common these days. It is a trend that seems to continue for a while. Especially in the tech industry. So far in 2023, about 130,000 tech workers in the U.S. have lost their jobs in large-scale cuts. Also, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has announced that it will fire 10,000 employees or about 13% of its staff this year. Employees who face layoffs may feel many emotions, such as shock, anger, disbelief, and anxiety. Besides that, layoffs can affect an individual’s career and financial security for a long time. Layoffs can also impact the community.

When a company fires many employees, it can hurt the local economy. For example, if a big factory shuts down and fires hundreds of workers, the local businesses that depend on those workers’ spending may also struggle. HR professionals should think about how layoffs can harm the organization’s reputation. Layoffs can damage the company’s image and make it hard to attract and keep top talent in the future. It’s important to explain the reasons for the layoffs and the steps the company is taking to avoid similar situations in the future. It’s also important to think about how layoffs can affect the mental health and well-being of employees. Losing a job can be a traumatic experience, and it’s important for HR professionals to provide resources and support for those who are affected. This can include access to counseling services, job training programs, or financial assistance.

How to Handle Layoffs as an HR Stakeholder

Proper planning is critical in managing layoffs, and HR professionals must take a proactive approach to prepare for this difficult situation. Here are some tips to consider when it comes to how to handle layoffs:

1. Develop a clear layoff policy, outlining the process and criteria for selecting employees to be laid off

When developing a layoff policy, it's important to consider the needs of the company as well as the needs of the employees. HR professionals should work with management to determine the specific criteria for selecting employees to be laid off, such as job performance, seniority, or departmental needs. It's also important to consider the impact that layoffs will have on the remaining employees and the company culture as a whole.

2. Consult with legal and financial advisors to ensure all actions will be compliant with relevant regulations and reduce the risk of lawsuits

Layoffs can be a legal minefield, and HR professionals need to ensure they are in compliance with all relevant regulations. Consulting with legal and financial advisors can help reduce the risk of lawsuits and ensure that the company is following all necessary procedures. It's also important to consider the financial impact of layoffs on the company, including severance pay and unemployment benefits.

3. Create a detailed communication plan for informing employees about the layoff, including the reasons for the layoffs, the process, and available resources

Effective communication is key in managing layoffs. HR professionals should develop a detailed communication plan that outlines the reasons for the layoffs, the process for selecting employees, and the resources available to affected employees, such as career counseling or job placement services. It's important to be transparent and honest with employees throughout the process, while also respecting their privacy and confidentiality.

4. Identify opportunities for cost-saving measures, such as voluntary exit programs, reduced work hours, or temporary furloughs, to help minimize the number of necessary layoffs

Layoffs should be a last resort, and HR professionals should explore all possible cost-saving measures before resorting to layoffs. This might include offering voluntary exit programs, reducing work hours or salaries, or implementing temporary furloughs. These measures can help minimize the number of necessary layoffs, while also demonstrating to employees that the company is committed to minimizing the impact of the layoffs.

5. Coordinate with management to develop a comprehensive plan for maintaining productivity and efficiency during and after the layoff period

Layoffs can be a challenging time for the company, and it's important to have a plan in place for maintaining productivity and efficiency. HR professionals should work with management to develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the roles and responsibilities of remaining employees, as well as any changes to workflows or job responsibilities. This can help ensure that the company continues to operate smoothly during and after the layoff period.

By following these tips, HR professionals can help manage layoffs in a responsible and effective manner, while also minimizing the impact on affected employees and the company as a whole.

How to Handle Communication During Layoffs

To know how to handle layoffs with efficiency, you need to keep in mind that open, honest, and compassionate communication is key during a layoff process. HR professionals should consider the following steps to ensure clear communication with employees:

  • Hold individual meetings with employees who will be laid off, providing them with transparent information about the reasons for the layoff and the resources available to them.
  • Communicate with remaining employees to address any concerns or fears they may have about their job security or the company's future.
  • Provide regular updates on the organization's plans and progress to rebuild trust and foster a sense of unity among employees.
  • Create a centralized repository of information and resources for employees affected by the layoffs, such as job search assistance, financial planning, and emotional support resources.

How to Handle Layoffs and Providing Support

The next aspect of how to handle the layoffs is, as an HR professional, you must offer a range of support services and resources to help employees navigate the aftermath of a layoff. This can include:

  1. Severance packages that provide financial assistance to laid-off employees, such as salary continuation and benefits extension.
  2. Outplacement services that help employees find new job opportunities and develop their career strategies.
  3. Training and development programs to help employees improve their skills and increase their marketability.
  4. Mental and emotional support services like employee assistance programs (EAPs) or counseling referrals to help employees cope with the stress and challenges of job loss.

Minimizing Disruptions and Stress During Layoffs

During the layoff process, HR professionals should make an effort to minimize disruptions and stress for both laid-off employees and those who remain. Some strategies for achieving this include:

  • Developing a clear and efficient process for the transition of work responsibilities, ensuring that remaining employees are not overwhelmed.
  • Being sensitive and respectful in all communications, both internal and external, regarding layoffs.
  • Providing clear expectations and goals for remaining employees, helping them understand their roles and responsibilities in the organization's future.
  • Encouraging open dialogue and feedback from employees to help identify and address any concerns or areas of uncertainty.

Strategies for Easing the Transition After Layoffs

Once the layoff process is complete, HR professionals should focus on helping both laid-off employees and the organization as a whole move forward. This can involve:

  1. Continuing to provide support and resources for laid-off employees, offering assistance with their job search and career development efforts.
  2. Conducting follow-up meetings with remaining employees to address any lingering questions or concerns and to monitor morale and productivity.
  3. Fostering a culture of trust and cooperation by celebrating successes and recognizing the contributions of all employees.
  4. Implementing ongoing feedback and communication channels to keep employees informed and engaged in the organization's progress.

How to Handle Layoffs’ Impacts Using Tech

When it comes to answering the question ‘how to handle layoffs’ with technology, it can play a valuable role in reducing the impact of layoffs on both employees and the organization. By providing access to tools and platforms that support remote work, collaboration, job searching, and skill development, HR can help employees maintain productivity and prepare for new opportunities.

One of the most important tech tools that can help recruiters and companies tackle the impact of layoffs is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS is a software solution that helps source, assess, track, and hire candidates faster and more efficiently. It can also help manage the communication and feedback with the laid-off employees, as well as the internal and external stakeholders involved in the process.

An ATS can help recruiters and companies handle layoffs in several ways:

  • It can help identify the best candidates to retain or rehire, based on their skills, performance, potential, and fit with the company culture and goals. An ATS can also provide AI recommendations and candidate scoring to rank and compare candidates objectively and fairly.
  • An ATS can help create and manage a talent pool of former employees who may be interested in returning to the company in the future, or who may be suitable for other roles within the organization. An ATS can also help maintain a positive relationship with these candidates by sending them regular updates, newsletters, invitations to events or webinars, etc.
  • Applicant Tracking System can help streamline the outplacement process for the laid-off employees, by providing them with resources, guidance, and support to find new opportunities. An ATS can also help connect them with relevant job boards, career coaches, training programs, or networking platforms that can enhance their employability and career prospects.
  • It can help improve the employer brand and reputation of the company, by ensuring a transparent, respectful, and empathetic layoff process. An ATS can also help communicate the reasons and rationale behind the layoff decision, as well as the benefits and assistance offered to the affected employees. Plus, it can collect and analyze feedback from laid-off employees, as well as monitor their satisfaction and engagement levels.

One of the best ATS solutions that you should look into is Manatal. It is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, and cloud-based ATS that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration with LinkedIn and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, and prompt in their replies.

Here are some of Manatal’s features that can help recruiters and companies handle layoffs’ impacts effectively:

  • Its powerful AI engine can enrich candidate profiles with data from their LinkedIn and 20+ social platforms. It can also provide smart suggestions for candidates based on their skills, experience, and fit with the company.
How to Handle Layoffs While Supporting Your Workers
  • Manatal has a flexible talent pool management system that allows recruiters to create custom categories and tags for candidates. It also has a referral program that can incentivize employees to recommend former colleagues or friends for open positions.
  • The Reports & Analytics feature can help you track metrics and KPIs related to layoffs. It also has a feedback system that can help collect and measure employee satisfaction and engagement levels.
How to Handle Layoffs While Supporting Your Workers

How to Handle Layoffs by Building a Positive Culture in the Aftermath

The final step in the ‘how to handle layoffs’ playbook is to rebuild a positive organizational culture that fosters trust, collaboration, and growth. HR professionals can do this by:

  • Continuing to communicate openly with employees about the organization's plans, initiatives, and goals.
  • Encouraging leaders and managers to model behavior that promotes trust, such as transparency, empathy, and collaboration.
  • Offering targeted training and development programs that help employees grow and feel valued in the organization.
  • Continuously monitoring and addressing any employee concerns or issues that may arise in the aftermath of the layoffs.

Final Thoughts

Layoffs are never easy, but by following this comprehensive guide, HR professionals can provide support and resources to help workers navigate this challenging time and emerge stronger and more resilient.

Start a 14-day free trial with Manatal now and learn how its cloud-based recruitment platform can help guide you through how to handle layoffs while minimizing the impact.

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