6 Layoff Best Practices

What Is One Best Practice When Conducting Layoffs?


To help you conduct layoffs the best way, we asked HR managers and CEOs this question for their best advice. From communicating in-person to the employee to holding a survivors’ meeting after the layoffs, there are several pieces of advice that you may adopt as best practices for conducting layoffs in your organization.


Here Are Six Layoff Best Practices:

  • Communicate In-Person To The Employee
  • Follow Workforce Laws and Regulations
  • Choose The Right Day
  • Give Team Members Advance Notice
  • Conduct Layoffs Individually and Privately
  • Hold a Survivors’ Meeting After The Layoffs


6 Layoff Best Practices


Communicate In-Person To The Employee

As we see in the headlines, a large number of companies are conducting layoffs.  Although unfortunate, they are sometimes a business necessity.  HOW a company handles these difficult conversations makes all the difference. It is essential employers and HR develop a thorough plan where impacted employees feel respected and are treated with empathy. The message should be communicated directly to the employee.  If the company meets in person, then the message should be delivered in person.

If a remote company, HR and the employer need to devise a multi-step plan on how they plan on delivering the message to a remote workforce. It should still be done verbally, whether over the phone or via video message. The idea that companies are just turning off peoples’ access or sending them severance in their final paycheck with no other notification is utterly baffling. It is also important for the laid-off employees to know who their resource is should they have any questions.

Eric Mochnacz, Red Clover


Follow Workforce Laws and Regulations

Layoffs, even when they are crucial to your company’s survival, are ruled by a specific set of rules and regulations. And you must always remember that sidestepping them can never be an option, even in desperation. So even before you make a decision, you must refer to the laid down laws and regulations related to letting go of personnel in your industry or geographical region.

Everything from the employee handbook to company bylaws must be followed so that there is no dispute once the decision is made and followed through. Preferably, the entire process should be followed under the supervision of a legal team that is well-versed with employee laws related to layoffs.

Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.


Choose the Right Day

Consider better days to conduct layoffs. For instance, Mondays and Fridays are not ideal. Receiving news of a layoff is already stressful, especially at the beginning or end of the week. Opt for Tuesday or Wednesday so those laid off can have the rest of the week to process what has happened and consider their future options.

Miles Beckett, Flossy


Give Team Members Advance Notice

The worst thing you can do as a leader has blindsided your employees with something potentially life-altering like a sudden layoff. This demonstrates a lack of respect for your employees and their needs outside the workplace, which can have wide-reaching side effects for both the morale of your remaining employees and your brand reputation for consumers and potential future employees. Announcing upcoming layoffs in advance gives team members time to prepare and plan to limit the disruption to their livelihood.

It also allows employees time to give their input, and you may find they present a potential solution you hadn’t thought of that can spare the need for layoffs. If nothing else, some employees who were already considering a job switch may accelerate their plans knowing layoffs are on the horizon and leave voluntarily, sparing you the need to make as many difficult decisions about who stays and who goes.

Jon Hill, The Energists


Conduct Layoffs Individually and Privately

Layoffs should be conducted privately and individually. Laying off large groups of employees can pose a risk for a company. Firing a large group of employees suddenly and publicly can generate controversy. Employees are usually in need of a safety net and some privacy around their transition to another position.

This allows for some security so that employees can land on their feet after being terminated from their current employment situation. Sudden mass layoffs could trigger a public relations nightmare as company executives are labeled inhuman for their disregard for employee wellbeing. Layoffs should be conducted privately and give the employees plenty of time to carry out their next step.

Sean Doherty, Box Genie


Hold a Survivors’ Meeting After The Layoffs

After a layoff, the remnant staff is unsure when another axing will occur and affect them. It is important to have a meeting with them and reassure them about the security of their jobs. Make no promises, but provide direction and guidance. The meeting should entail sharing business strategy going forward, addressing concerns about how the workplace structure will change after some have been laid off, and explaining new work routines.

The fear of being the next employee to be laid off causes demoralization and negativity in the workplace, hence the need to address it immediately. The meeting eases the tension at the workplace and enhances productivity in the new arrangement of work and employee roles.

Leah Wanjiku Gathoni, NearbyMovers


Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.