It is vital for the management in an organization to understand that lay-offs should not really focus on the individual that is being released but rather on the position that he/she has been holding. It is a decision that is made after assessing the company’s requirements as well as the needs of a specific position. In a situation where an individual does not fulfill his/her requirements for a given position or when the said position is no longer necessary within the company, a lay-off decision has to be made (DelCampo, 2011). When managers focus on the issue in this perspective, they have the ability to prevent numerous negative emotions, and it also impacts on their communication with the employee that needs to be laid off. It becomes easier for employees to accept the company’s decision when there is good communication, since in such a way they understand the real reason that led to the decision. It also helps to avoid a situation when the dismissed employees feel as though they are being personally attacked.
Ways that a Manager Deal with Negative Emotions during Lay-Offs
First, it is important to ensure good communication regarding the lay-off process. The communication between the management and the dismissed employees should be done in a private place, and their contribution to the organization has to be recognized. The communication will prepare the worker as well as the manager to deal with the situation, and it will also be advisable that the process is done sequentially. The manager should also be ready for the emotions that may arise from his/her or the employee and handle them in a professional manner. There is a number of emotions expressed by the employee or the manager during the process, and they include shock, grief, reduced productivity, and negative perception towards the work (“Layoff,” n.d.). Communication and preparedness of the manager will assist him/her to handle the situation accordingly.
The second way of dealing with the situation is ensure that a manager can help the employee reduce emotional pain associated with the lay-off by granting him/her a severance package. Such package may provide some form of economic cushion for the employee, which would show that the management is understanding and compassionate about the employment termination effect. However, there is an existing trend among companies to offer less compensation payments, and a majority of them require that an employee has to sign a liability release form before he/she receives the payment. Nevertheless, it is an effective way of assisting employees to cope with the situation when they are between jobs or helping them establish a business, which will be their source of income.
The third approach of dealing with the situation is when the management assists the individual leaving the company to find a new job. It means that the management could use employees’ contacts to find companies that hire individuals with similar qualifications. They may also provide job recommendations that will assist the individual leaving the company to get a job in a different place. Besides, it will indicate that the employee is professional, since lay-off might have resulted due to structural changes of the company rather than the lack of the employee’s competence. It would also assist if the company could cater for the costs of some career counseling for the employees, which will assist any individual who may get laid off to perform well in interviews. It may also promote long-term employee loyalty even in cases of individuals being laid off.
The fourth tactic of dealing with the emotional components of lay-offs is to offer psychological counseling for the employee. Psychologists have shown that the reaction that people have when they lose a job is similar to the one that they have once they lose someone close. As such, it would be of great assistance if the employees got prepared to the psychological impact of lay-offs and also learned how to deal with such emotions. Therefore, the management may provide job counselors who can teach the employees about issues to deal with emotional distress and the other problems associated with job losses.
Steps to Take when Conducting the Dismissal Meeting
Step 1: Face–to-Face Meeting
As discussed above, lay-offs have numerous emotional impacts on an individual, and it is important for the dismissals to be handled carefully. Therefore, face-to-face meeting should be arranged between the manager and the employee. Such communication ought not to be done in the written form or over the phone. It should be the responsibility of the employee’s immediate supervisor to explain the reasons that have necessitated the dismissal. In some instances, it may be vital to have a third party or a witness available, so that the employee does not feel as though he/she is treated unfair.
Step 2: Location of the Meeting
The meeting should be held in a private place away from the earshot of the other employees. It should also be done in a place that does not alert the other employees on what is happening. It is advisable that the meeting is arranged in a public place in order to make it easier for the parties involved to prevent emotional outbursts. It also becomes easier to conclude the meeting by simply getting up and walking away. The announcement should be done in a way that the other employees do not get to know about it prior to its conclusion as it may lead to uneasiness within the workplace as well as the disruption of work.
Step 3: Ideal Time of Holding the Meeting
The meeting should be held at the beginning of the week as early as possible. It gives an individual some time to contemplate about the issue, accept it, and move on. The management should also avoid making such announcements just before the weekend or before a holiday. Dismissal at the start of the week provides the individual with ample time to start searching another job immediately.
Step 4: Duration of the Meeting
The actual meeting should last for about 10 to 20 minutes, and its only purpose should be to provide a brief and precise statement regarding the decision by the management to terminate the employment relationship. The manager should provide adequate reasons for the dismissal. It prevents lawsuits as employees seek to get full explanations for their redundancy. The employee should also be allowed some time to explain or interpret the events without interruption. It makes it clear that the decision made is final and that not much can be done to reverse it. The supervisor or manager should also make a brief overview of the benefits in order to make sure that the employee understands that he/she will continue to enjoy a number of benefits for a given period. The final thing that ought to be done by the manager is to collect the company property from the employee including cell phones, company car, keys, and credit cards among others. It can be done during the meeting or a date may be scheduled when the employee may be required to deliver the company’s property that has been in their possession.
Determination of a Compensation that may be Provided to a Separated Employee
It can be assumed that the employee to be dismissed has been working for the company for about 16 years. The company has a severance benefit plan that provides the employee with one week worth of pay for every year that he/she has been working for the company as well as any applicable cost of living adjustments. As such, upon the lay-off, the employee would receive 16 weeks’ worth of compensation from the company. In addition, the payment would be made in accordance with the payment schedule that they have been using when working for the company. In the current case, the employee received his/her pay bi-monthly. Therefore, in every month, they would receive two payments, each equivalent to a week’s pay. The employee made $1500 every week; therefore, the payments would be made for a period of eight months in order to cover sixteen weeks, thus getting $3000 every month.
Timeline of the Disbursement of the Compensation
The employee has worked for sixteen years and will be paid for 16 weeks’ worth of his time with the company. Assuming that he is laid off at the end of November, he will receive his payment on the 1st and 16th of every month for 8 months starting from December.
Below is the payment schedule plan:
|1st of the Month||16th of the Month|
|December||$ 1500.00||$ 1500.00|
|January||$ 1500.00||$ 1500.00|
|February||$ 1500.00||$ 1500.00|
|March||$ 1500.00||$ 1500.00|
|April||$ 1500.00||$ 1500.00|
|June||$ 1500.00||$ 1500.00|
|July||$ 1500.00||$ 1500.00|
|August||$ 1500.00||$ 1500.00|
Ways that the Lay-Off May Affect the Company
There are a number of ways in which the company will be affected by the lay-off.
- First, the remaining employees will be affected emotionally. Lay-offs create anxiety among the workers as they do not know whether they may be the next in line to be laid off. Lay-offs necessitate regular and effective communication between the management and the employees, since the dismissals may lead to reduced commitment and reduced quality of work.
- Second, the company may lose key talent as individuals make personal decisions to leave the company instead to taking the risk of being laid off unexpectedly. As a result, the company may lose essential human capital and institutional memory. It may also be expensive for the company to replace such individuals (Lawler, Worley, & Porras, 2011).
- Third, downsizing may disrupt or destroy informal networks that exist among the employees, which are essential in their productivity. For example, such networks may be what innovators in an organization use in order to acquire funds and support to develop new products, which are essential for the organization.
- Fourth, it may be expensive for the company to conduct lay-offs due to the high costs of legal challenges that accompany them as well as disability claims and the other costs that may emerge due to the exercise (De Meuse & Marks, 2010). In addition, the company has to pay someone a particular amount of money as severance pay even though they will not be serving the company for the given period.
- Fifth, the company is able to restructure its operations, which is a positive impact. Restructuring enables the company to get the right talent in the right positions within the company, thus boosting their performance. Such change is essential in a company and its long-term existence (De Meuse & Marks, 2010).
- Sixth, lay-offs may give the company an opportunity to get good talent on board as they replace the dismissed employees. Sometimes, changes in the market require changes in the skills and talents available in the organization (Orrick, 2008). Lay-off of some employees creates opportunities to get in the required talents, which boosts the performance of the organization.