Dealing with layoffs? Here’s what HRs can do

Laying off employees isn’t easy to deal with. While an organization has to let go of the employees, HR has to assure that everything is done smoothly. 

As easy as it seems, implementing it, in reality, is a stressful situation. Who would like to tell their employees immediately that their time at the organization is over? Especially when you know they have given their best to the company’s success. 

Unfortunately, this is a harsh reality of the business world that most of us couldn’t escape.

Sadly, you couldn’t let go of it. But you can definitely handle these situations with utmost care and compassion. 

To begin with, let’s first talk about the remaining employees at your workplace. While they are stressing over their colleagues getting laid off, they are dealing with their personal challenges as well. They fear what might happen next and are anxious about their job security. 

It is important to keep a check on them during these unprecedented times. Take a look at how you can support your remaining employees at your workplace: 

Supporting remaining employees at your workplace

  • Do not ignore your employees’ feelings: Your employees and managers may not be feeling good about the organization. And the reason is obvious! Ensure that you recognize their feelings of uncertainty, regret, loss, and denial. They need constant reassurance at this moment. 

You can create a support network for them where you can include company leaders and industry experts. Also, encourage them to support their laid-off employees. It can be done by reviewing their resumes and providing references. This is when you can either make or break your remaining workforce. Do it correctly! 

  • Collect and respond to feedback: Layoff season is the time when your employees might be feeling unvalued altogether. They have certain doubts in their mind that you must answer immediately. 

This is why giving your employees a voice so they can raise their concerns and needs. Receiving feedback and acting upon it is a way to do so. It will make them understand that you are listening and caring about their issues. 

  • Rebalance workloads responsibly: Laying off employees doesn’t mean that you have to overburden your surviving employees. This is a big no-no. Doubling their work will make them feel they are undervalued at the workplace.

Redesign workflows, reprioritize plans, and delegate effectively. You can have 1:1 meetings with them to understand their bandwidth. Discuss their capacity and if they can handle more work at the moment. 

  • Give generous recognition: Employees need to be seen and appreciated when worried about their job security. Make sure that you don’t miss out on recognizing their work. And by this, we don’t mean to be vague. Rather, be thoughtful and specific with your recognition. A thank you after a job is done also works wonderfully. 

Also, don’t forget to acknowledge employees who get laid off. They too were a part of the workplace who contributed beyond their job role. 

  • Help them focus on their blind spots: During these uncertain times, your employees may feel worried about the skills they are lacking. You can give them extra training on their blind spots and help them improvise. Also, don’t forget to focus on their strengths too. As that can help them to rebuild their confidence and understand themselves better. 

In case, the layoff season comes again, they are prepared to face it with confidence.

While you take note of these five pointers, assure that you implement them seriously. Your team needs you the most at this time. Be there for them! 

But, this doesn’t end here. What about your laid-off employees? They need your support too. Indeed, you cannot call them back at your organization but there are other ways where you can assist them. 

Helping your laid-off employees

  • Communicate transparently and with care: It might be overwhelming to face your laid-off employees. But, you cannot run away from them. Maintain the mutual respect that you have established over time. Remember they were once the core part of your organization! 

They may have loads of questions about your decision. Ensure that you reply to them honestly and patiently. Be transparent with the process. And don’t let them feel they are not valued at the workplace. 

  • Treat employees with respect: Your employees are human beings first. Know that this decision not only involves them but their family and future too. Make sure that you deliver any updated news with kindness and compassion. 

There might be times when your laid-off employees may lose patience. Try not to do so on your part too. Be respectful and ensure that you are there to support them. 

  • Give them financial and emotional counseling: This season would be hard on laid-off employees. You can help them by having an expert who can offer advice on savings and investments. It includes stock options, short-term cash strategy, and other investment options. 

Besides this, they also need emotional support at this time. Not only they are stressed but are also questioning their worth. You can call a psychologist at your workplace so that your employees can seek professional help. 

  • Create a support pack for them to land a new opportunity: You can provide them tools like the LinkedIn premium that can help in reaching out to recruiters at companies. You can also help them by creating their profiles on freelance marketplaces. Some of them are text broker, Upwork, Fiverr, etc. Besides this, you can also recommend your laid-off employees to other companies. As you are directly referring them, chances are that will probably be hired or given preference. 

Make sure that you are in contact with them even if any of the above mentioned things aren’t working out. 

  • Offer transitional support to laid-off employees: At this moment, your employees are stressed out. Due to this, they might be confused about what to do and where to go. Even if you aren’t able to help them in landing a job, you can provide them with training. It includes cover letter writing, updating their CV, helping them with skills they are lacking, etc. 

You can also introduce them to recruiters even when it’s not directly related to their field. It may happen that they can guide them better and refer them to their network. 

As of now we only discuss supporting your employees. But, there’s more to it. Hiring laid-off employees is another overwhelming situation for both parties. While HRs aren’t sure if they would be the right fit, employees are doubtful about themselves too. 

And because of this, most companies don’t really do it right. This is why their hiring process needs special attention. Let’s take a look below at how you can hire laid-off employees at your workplace. 

Hiring laid-off employees at your company

  • Reach out to them directly: Many employees and professionals are active on LinkedIn. Even after they get laid off, they inform their networks that they are open to work. You can reach out to them directly. Be empathetic in your tone. 

Brief them about your company and job role and ask them if they are willing to give an interview at your company. Rest, the decision is on them. 

You can mention a few perks and benefits that can be suitable for them at that moment. 

  • Hire with sensitivity: This isn’t normal hiring. You are dealing with a far more emotional recruiting situation. Hence, you need to think before you speak and act. You have to be sympathetic and empathetic to their situation. 

Don’t try to make them feel unworthy. As they are already dealing with it. In case, you feel that they aren’t the right fit, you can refer them to someone. Or if you think that their skills are lacking, let them know this too. But, never make them sit on the fence. 

  • Be transparent with your interview process: As mentioned above, this isn’t the hiring that you deal with mostly. So, you need to assure that they are completely aligned with your interview process. Keep them informed of where they are in the hiring process.

Ensure that you only go ahead with their interview when you know what you really want at your workplace. It will save time and effort for both parties. 

  • Provide them safe and welcoming work culture: This isn’t only about the job role. But a welcoming work environment is needed too. While in the interview process, you can assure them about the positive work culture too. Make sure that you only say what really the reality is. 

And even after they get hired, don’t let them feel unworthy. Remember, the problem is not them but rather the business decisions. Introduce them to colleagues and help them get comfortable at their new workplace. 

Layoff season is indeed a tough time. You never know what can happen next. But all you can do is be prepared for such circumstances and ease the transition. 

All the best! 

                               Note: This article was originally published on Linkedin.