My friend Jenna’s company is folding. She spent her entire career with the company and is now just one of the dispirited employees going out the door. No way around it.
The fact that it’s happening is not surprising. How it’s unfolding is unfortunate.
Even when the news isn’t good, companies can always find ways to soften the blow. Don’t make them work for three difficult months in order to collect their severance. Don’t give the HR administrator (known for her lack of emotional intelligence) the job of delivering the news. And don’t depend on the union to provide employee assistance – even when they said they would.
Downsizing is inevitable. But it’s also an opportunity to show your workers how grateful you are for their hard work.
Making sure the right people deliver the message and that people feel supported during a traumatic experience (job loss is traumatic) won’t remove the pain but would let them know they’re valuable contributors not just to your company but wherever they land in the future.
I'm fascinated by organizations behaving badly, especially when the harm is caused by poor - or non-existent - communications. If you've observed or been personally involved when this happens, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks!