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Controlling Fear During Layoffs September 29, 2007

Posted by Tariq Ahmed in Managing Employees.
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Unlike The Empire, not all ventures can grow continuously.  When market forces require your organization to downsize, the chosen survivors must also be carefully managed.  Reorganization, restructuring, layoffs or outsourcing; it has many names, but the fear remains the same.  When the decision has been made to cut people or entire departments, you also need a plan to keep the remaining employees motivated, focused and informed.  Without proper communication fear can spread, you’ll end up with chaos and your best talent leaving.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when pink slips hit the fan.

It’s best to do all the layoffs at once.  If you can manage that, then you can promise the remaining employees that their jobs are safe, and everyone can focus on being productive and getting the company out it’s current situation.

Round after round of terminations will only inspire fear and productivity will hit zero as everyone starts working on their resume and surfing Vader’s List for job postings.

All mangers should explain the layoffs to their staff so they are reassured that there will no more for a certain time period.  Clear and honest communication is important.  If management can’t be honest about something, then do not promise it to the employees.

It’s also important to very careful about what compensation is given to the terminated employees.  Everyone is watching, and if the company is ruthless, they will foresee that treatment coming their way, and start looking for employment elsewhere.

Without clear and concise communication you run the risk of your best people quietly searching for other jobs, leaving your company in even a more ominous situation than what created the need for layoffs.

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