Dreading the Termination of an Employee?

Five Ways to Ensure Employees are Laid Off in the Most Humane and Respectable Way!

Employee at deskLaying people off is uncomfortable and emotionally draining. After all, you’re human! Goodness knows you wouldn’t want to be them, going home to face their families. You worry that they’re going to have one heck of a time finding another job, or a job that pays as well, or a manager who will be sympathetic to their special needs… or anything else that weighs on your mind about releasing them.

Here are five things you can do to alleviate some of the stress you personally feel when laying off employees:

  1. Treat them with the utmost respect! Be kind. Even if you believe they deserve to be let go, “let it go.” Terminated employees will always remember “how” they were told and how they were treated. The sting of being notified that their job is being eliminated will never leave their memory. Never! More legal retribution is sought by terminated employees due to how they were treated at the time of the notification than for any other reason.
  2. Don’t let a “stranger” or some unknown person notify the employee that their job has been eliminated. This news should come from someone who the employee knows and who has personally interacted with the employee during the normal course of their work day. Do your best to insist that your employees are notified by a familiar face.
  3. Have personal knowledge about the outplacement benefit you have arranged for employees and encourage them to take advantage of it. Provide separated employees with outplacement benefits from a company that you can honestly say will give them the greatest level of support.
  4. Oftentimes, HR uses an outplacement firm that is the most convenient, or the cheapest, without making an effort to understand the difference in services. It’s in the best interest of the company to encourage employees to use the outplacement services! Better to have your separated employees focus on the future with a career consultant than to be bitter, smoldering and venting on the Internet or with the attorneys they have called.
  5. Drop the hard party lines. Don’t escort an employee out the door with their cardboard box of personal items for all their peers and the company to see. If they have been impacted by a true reduction in force, and not terminated for cause, then let’s not give the impression that this is a punitive action. Make arrangements for employees to save face and come back after hours (or during certain hours) to clean out their desks. Or offer them the option of having someone they trust remove their personal items for them.

Now, a last, but certainly not least, word about this. Ask yourself the question: “If I were to be terminated, how would I want this experience to go down for me?” Then do what you can to treat others the way you would want to be treated yourself.

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