- Ways that a manger may deal with any negative emotions that may accompany an employee layoff
Communication is very vital for any successful layoff process. The negative reactions of a layoff may come directly from the employees being separated or the remaining employees in an organization. As a manager, you should plan your communications early before the layoff notifications. This involves planning what to tell your employees about the possible layoffs by developing the main points in this form of communication. For the communication to be effective, a manager should be open and honest about the possibility of terminating the contract of any of the employees (De Mesuse & Marks, 2003). There is possibility for the remaining employees to feel that they may be the next ones to lose their jobs and they may also feel guilty or sympathetic when their colleagues lose their jobs. For this reason, it is critical for the manager to communicate effectively with the remaining employees to assure them of their job security and enhance their productivity.
A manager should give the remaining employees a chance to express themselves freely about their concerns regarding any layoff that may have occurred. This calls for the manager to listen keenly as employees express their feelings on the issue and reassure them. In addition, a manager should also explain honestly on what may have caused the layoff to clear any doubts from the employees. Once employees are given a chance to communicate, a manager also gets a chance to address any queries that they may be having. Effective communication with the employees will make feel better to continue working in an organization instead of worrying unnecessarily.
Follow-up with Remaining Employees
It is important for a manager to understand that the remaining employees may have lost their friends and hence will be anxious about what will happen next. A manager should inform the remaining employees about what has happened and guide them on how to refocus quickly on any reassignment that may be caused by a layoff. Ideally, an employee’s layoff may result in an increased workload for the remaining staff. In this regard, a manager should discuss the workload with the employees and address their concerns while trying as much as possible to focus on the positives.
A manager should also thank the employees for their performance and continued support, but should refrain from making any promises or guarantees about their future. This will prove a manager’s honesty since the future may be unpredictable. However, a manager should reassure the employees on how the organization plans to deal with employee separation in the future and whether there are plans for increased job security (Lewis & Sargeant, 2004). Moreover, a manager should be accessible to his employees to deal with any concerns they may be having about the changes. If a manager is absent during this time, employees may feel neglected and will be worried that their layoffs are also being prepared. As a result, this may affect their performance at work.
Acknowledgement to Staff about Difficult Times and Normal Reactions
Many people have a misunderstanding that acknowledging an organization is going through tough moments will worsen the situation. Instead, the opposite is true because employees will free appreciated by being told the truth. This will also assist in “normalizing” employee reactions and letting them know that you understand how budget cuts and uncertainty affects them. It is also important to let employees understand that emotions can be intense during such moments and this can be dealt with by being patient with each other (Hor & Keats, 2009). Equally important, a manager should also be patient with the employees who may have intense reactions about the layoffs. In relation to this, a manager should be ready to hear some negative stuff and avoid being temperamental or being against some of the employees. Furthermore, a manager should treat an employee directly affected by a layoff with respect. As such, there should be no victimization and the manager should wish such employees success in their future endeavors. This will also send a positive message to the remaining staff in an organization.
- The Process of Conducting the Dismissal Meeting
How the employee’s dismissal process is conducted is important not only for the employee being terminated, but also for those who will be left behind. If a dismissal process is conducted poorly, the employees trust and loyalty may be broken (Chandler, 2003). Although employee dismissal is an emotionally charged assignment, it can be handled effectively by a competent manager while maintaining integrity and applying fairness. The following steps should be followed in conducting the dismissal meeting;
Step 1: Pre-Meeting Preparation
- This involves familiarizing yourself with the grounds of employee dismissal. These may be the conduct, redundancy, legality, capability, lack of funds, or department’s reorganization (Hor & Keats, 2009). The manager should also be familiar with the process on how it was decided about who would be laid off.
- A script should be prepared as a guide to ensure that all the necessary information is conveyed to the employee.
- Consider whether the employee will leave immediately after the layoff or will continue working until a given date.
- Consider how the employee’s workload will be handled or whether the position will be eliminated
- Since the separation process can be emotional, make preparations for this and anticipate questions that may be asked (Hor & Keats, 2009).
- Make appropriate arrangements for the notification meeting, including the date, time, and venue where the meeting can be held without any interruption.
- Consider the appropriate person to notify the employee about the meeting.
Inform the employee being targeted for dismissal that you would like to have a meeting with them to discuss their performance.
Step 3: The Notification Meeting
- The notification meeting should be conducted by the employee’s supervisor or departmental manager.
- As a manager, hold the review meeting at your offices and explain to the employee the reason for the meeting and allow them to express themselves.
- The message should be delivered directly and compassionately and the employee given enough time to go through the written notice of layoff given to them during the meeting.
- Offer a clear explanation about the grounds for dismissal and avoid making comments that would compromise the decision (Hor & Keats, 2009). At this point, an employee can be accompanied by a friend or a union representative. Moreover, inform the employee they have a right to appeal to those concerns.
- Be direct and firm and inform the employee that the decision is final.
- Avoid being argumentative or defensive.
- Listen to the employee’s response and let him ask questions.
- Document the meeting by highlighting the main issues of concern and the agreed actions to be taken. This should then be copied to the HR department.
- Compensation that May Be Provided to the Separated Employee
Money Your Employer Owes You
A separated employee may be compensated for all the hours worked in the company, accrued vacation time and commissions. In some cases, an employee may also be compensated on expense reimbursements.
A dismissed employee may also be compensated through a severance. Whether an employee qualifies for a severance is determined by state laws or employer’s severance policies. In some severance policies, an employer may be entitled to some amount of money for each week of service that the employee has been with the company (Chandler, 2003). However, employees should be aware of their company’s severance in order to make a follow-up upon dismissal.
An employee, who is dismissed through a fault that is not his, is entitled to unemployment benefits as he searches for a new job. Employment benefits may be in a form of insurance or health benefits.
This form of compensation may be forwarded to an employee if the dismissal was done in an unlawful manner. This may include dismissal on the basis of age, racial, or nay other form of discrimination.
- A Chart Depicting the Timeline of the Disbursement of the Compensation
- Ways that this Layoff May Affect the Company
Other employees remaining after a layoff may have the fear of being next in the list. This fear may make them look for other alternatives as they would rather resign on their own other than wait to be laid off. Therefore, a layoff may end up driving the remaining employees to the competitors.
Layoffs may also send a bad signal to the other employees. They may feel insecure to work in the company and hence lower their morale and productivity. In most cases, this happens when a company has tendencies of dismissing its employees regularly.
The long-term relationships between the employer and the employees may be affected by layoffs, especially when the process is not open. The relationship becomes vulnerable as employees’ trust towards their employers is weakened (Nelson & Economy, 2011). As a result, the remaining employees become less determined in their work and will be willing to leave the company if the slightest opportunity is presented. If layoffs are done because of redundancy, then the company is likely to be left with the productive employees. This will also reduce the cost of human resource and may have an overall effect on the company’s profitability.
Sometimes layoffs may have a huge financial impact on a company, especially when the process is not done correctly. As a result, the laid off employee may seek for compensation through legal means requiring the company to search for a lawyer (Nelson & Economy, 2011). Court cases may be determined in favor of the employee and hence prompting the company to make huge payments for the laid off employees. The company may also suffer from bad publicity which may affect its reputation. When a company has a reputation of unlawfully dismissing its employees, its customers may also decline.
Chandler, P. (2003). Waud’s employment Law: The practical Guide for Human Resource Managers. Boston: Kogan Page.
De Mesuse, K. & Marks, M (2003). Resizing the Organization: Managing layoffs, Divestitures, and Closings. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Hor, J. & Keats, L. (2009). Managing Termination of Employment: A Fair Act Guide. Melbourne: CCH Australia Limited.
Lewis, D. & Sargeant, M. (2004). Essentials of Employment Law. Michigan: CIPD.
Nelson, B. & Economy, P. (2011). Managing For Dummies. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
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