Effectively releasing employees can be a challenging endeavor.
Take the time you need to clearly think through each phase and your role in the process. Clear thinking, careful planning, and practice will allow you to conduct effective separations. It is your responsibility to manage the separations(s) effectively.
Here are 5 Dos and 3 Don’ts when releasing employees
DO | Review OWBPA & WARN Act Regulations
- Know the criteria that needs to be met when laying off employees.
- Seek compliance assistance if you have questions about the legal criteria.
DO | Gather Materials
- Have a packet ready for the meeting:
- Employment termination letter
- COBRA paperwork
- A severance agreement
- Items related to the severance package such as a details about outplacement benefits to help the employee find a new position
DON’T | Enter The Conversation Without A Plan
- Familiarize yourself with sample scripts, a meeting outline and prepared objectives before the meeting begins.
DO | Keep In Mind: The World Is Watching
- Being intentional about this conversation and crafting it ahead of time will not only greatly benefit the effected employee, it will also greatly impact your company.
- Cultivating a culture of trust and compassion does not end with employment. How companies release employees has a lasting impact on the culture and reputation of the organization.
DON’T | Make Small Talk
- This is not the time to beat around the bush. Talking about the weather will not soften the blow. It can actually cause confusion and uncertainty.
- Be ready to articulate the reason for the decision and present information in a packet or folder that they can refer to after the meeting.
DO | Share A Specific Plan And Available Resources
- There is hope in a plan.
- Have a system in place and a step by step plan of what is going to happen next.
- Include details and a list of resources available. If an organization has an employee assistance program, this information should be provided to aid employees and family members affected by the layoff.
DON’T | Focus On Yourself
- This moment can trigger a range of emotions for everyone involved.
- While it may be tempting to share how sad you are to have to deliver the news, keep in mind that this moment should be focused on making information available and answering questions the released employee has for you.
DO | Keep In Mind Your Remaining Staff
- A Harvard Business Review article writes, “Studies show that nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees retained after a layoff saw their productivity decline.”
- Provide development opportunities for your remaining staff to impact productivity and retention. Here are 3 ways to make this actionable today.