• Kacie Sizemore

A Lesson in Layoffs, What Not to Do

As someone who spends her days helping companies and their people thrive, a frequent complaint I hear from executives at prospective client organizations goes something like this, "Employees have no loyalty anymore. We bend over backwards and they won't stay." While that sentiment may be true, especially without insights from purposeful employee experience work, there are a number of reasons why employees don't stick around like they have in the past. One of biggest reasons for the persistent churn is employers have shown little loyalty to employees over the years and people have noticed.

Here is a prime example.

Recently a friend of mine was invited to an all hands virtual meeting where he was told by the CEO of his company that he and a couple hundred of his peers, almost the entire company aside from senior leadership, no longer had jobs - effective immediately. There would be no severance, no placement services, no insurance continuation despite the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing.

This was not a business whose operations halted due to COVID-19. This was not a startup. This was a white collar organization. They were still working, still selling and until very recently, still hiring. In fact, their solutions are in-demand as companies navigate the transition from physical office spaces to work from home settings. Not only did the company let their employees down, they no longer had the staff to honor client support contracts.

The real kicker is that as days have turned into weeks my friend and many of his coworkers still haven't heard from their bosses, bosses that they've worked with for years. Those bosses are part of a small skeleton crew that are still on board to keep operations going. Very few from the senior leadership team have reached out to their old employees to offer references, apologize for how things went down or to say anything at all.

This is how the "leaders" at his company chose and continue to choose to treat their employees, radio silence.

Given the current situation sometimes tough decisions have to be made. We may have to layoff or furlough employees. We may have to squeeze operations down to a virtual stand still. However, how we choose to treat our people during times like these creates a reputation that will follow us for years to come. That reputation, good or bad, is news that spreads like wild fire and will impact our ability to attract and retain talent well into the future. Although the virus is wrecking havoc on our lives we can still uphold the values of our organizations and we can still be kind.

Kindness is what will get us through.

If you are facing a situation where layoffs or furloughs are in order and want to maintain cultural integrity, we are offering free 30 minute consultations to help you navigate this challenge. Grab your time slot here.

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