How to manage layoffs

financeCFO Magazine recently published an article about “How to Talk about Layoffs“. It includes some valuable anecdotes about layoff processes that don’t work.

Here are several key themes that bear repeating:

  1. No amount of employee communication is too much. Most business leaders assume employees know much more about strategy or financial challenges than they do. Head off greater problems by keeping everyone informed about what you’re doing and what you’re thinking.
  2. Use objective criteria when determining who should be laid off. Apart from potential legal issues, it is a proven way to ensure the remaining staff that performance rather than personal preference does actually matter.
  3. Act quickly. Nothing is more debilitating than rampant water cooler chatter speculating on the next round of layoffs, who’s next, etc.

One more thing. There are a growing number of stories about knee-jerk layoffs that are panic-driven without a deliberate plan. Make sure you have carefully weighed your options and looked objectively at your prospects before cutting so deeply that your future success is jeopardized.

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