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Making Layoffs Less Painful with Compassion

Conducting large scale layoffs is a heavy burden for many human resources professionals, but a good starting point is clear communication with a focus on respect and compassion. So reports Harvard Business Review.

ExitHR teams and communications directors need to hash out a communications plan that is clear and honest about why the layoffs are necessary, Laurie Tennant writes for the publication. Tennant is a principal of People Advisory at Norwest Venture Partners. “This should include a succinct summary of what people need to know and understand about the action being taken, with special emphasis on what’s being done for impacted employees,” Tennant writes. “There also should be a forward-looking vision of how this action positively positions the company going forward, as well as a high-level outline of any planned changes in strategy or organizational structure.”

Another crucial action is properly preparing senior managers, leaders and the IT department on how to inform employees that they will be let go. “Most important are the frontline managers who will have to deliver the bad news to impacted employees,” Tennant notes. “Most managers will need training on delivering news like this, as they’ve likely never had to perform this role before.”

It also is important not to overlook IT and ensure that this department is aware “far enough in advance so that access to IT services can be turned off simultaneously with notification meetings and applied consistently across all impacted employees,” Tennant writes.

“IT cutoff often is seen by employees as a cold, stark reminder that they’ve been terminated, but it must be applied equally to everyone affected,” she notes.

Read the full article with the Harvard Business Review


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