Whether your business is laying off one employee, 50 or several hundred, mistakes are all but inevitable. Hopefully, they will be small, with no long-lasting repercussions.
However, some companies do make severe errors when laying off employees, and because of that, they tarnish their reputation or land in legal trouble. Here is a look at some things to avoid doing.
Messing up the announcement
There is no easy way to say, "We are letting you go." However, there are some general good practices. For example, do not let employees find out about the layoff on social media, in the news or from others in the company before the official notification. They deserve to find out in one-on-one meetings (absent situations where a violent reaction is likely).
Moreover, it helps to follow the news that you are letting them go with positive news like the employees will still receive pay for X period or the company will help with the job search. Say only what applies and what the company truly means to do. Give the employee printed confirmation of what the company is prepared to do, as he or she is likely in a daze and unable to process everything immediately.
It is also important to thank employees for their contributions and to emphasize their worth. If they have to leave right away, give them a chance to say goodbye and to gather their things. Of course, do check with your lawyers first, as there may be tweaks you have to make in this aspect.
Having layoffs constantly
It is horrible for morale if a company has a layoff round after another. Employees are always wondering if they are next. In some situations, this approach cannot be really helped. However, try to get the leadership together on this issue and get the layoffs finished in one round if possible.
Choosing for the wrong reasons
Another potential danger is choosing the wrong criteria to lay people off. Otherwise, you risk laying off people for discriminatory reasons. Similarly, you might make the decision of who to lay off too quickly and with too much emphasis on recent performance.