Conducting Layoffs Humanely During Crisis

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conducting layoffs humanely

Conducting layoffs is never easy. There is never a good time to fire someone, even when they deserve it.

Most businesses have taken a heavy beating from the global crisis. Over one million people in Kenya lost their jobs due to companies closing down or businesses downsizing to survive the economic downturn brought about by the pandemic. The timing of laying employees off could not be much worse but most establishments have no choice but to do so.

Is your business contemplating layoffs during this time? It is important that you do it in the most humane way possible. Here is how to do it.

Make sure layoffs are a last resort

conducting layoffs humanely

Take time and table all the other options you may have to take before firing your employees. For example, you could offer salary cuts or send them on unpaid leave. There is always something you can do before laying people off. Let that be the last card in your deck.

Maintain Clear Communication Lines

More than ever now is the time to ensure that communication lines with your employees are kept open. Clear communication gets rid of any uncertainties your employees may have in regards to their future with the company. Communicating challenges the company is facing also helps prepare the employees for the inevitable so that it doesn’t take them by surprise.

Mind the Welfare of Laid-off Workers

conducting layoffs humanely

Getting laid off is not easy to handle. It weighs heavily on people in all aspects of their life. For instance, most people go through an emotional rollercoaster.

When this happens during a time of crisis like the one currently being experienced globally, it becomes even more distressing. The laid-off workers are left in a very bad place both physically and emotionally. Ensure open communication is maintained through out and the employees are handled with utmost decency through out the process.

Don’t Hide Behind COVID-19

conducting layoffs humanely

The most common and acceptable way to lay people off is to do it in person. Do not lay staff off via text messages, email, or group calls and messages that have been recorded and blame it on social distancing. The action of laying people off is no fun, to say the least. Whether it is the employer himself or the head of human resource who handles the matter, it should be done in real-time and by the person responsible and in person. Make it face-to-face.

Stay in Touch

Painful as it may be to lay off employees, it might be the only way to survive through trying times. However, make an effort to stay in touch with the employees. Find out how they are holding up and offer recommendations and job referrals where you can. When the business starts thriving in the new normal, you might need them and this will be easy if you have maintained a good relationship. If you decide to hire new employees, you might want to consider skills assessments in order to get qualified employees on board.

Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.