Executive leaders, your people need you to show them respect and care at all times, especially when times are tough. So if you find yourself in a situation where you need to do a layoff, please for the love of all that is holy do NOT do this one thing:
Do NOT give your layoff some name like “Set Up for Success” or “Fit for the Future” or “Operation Phoenix.”
And absolutely do NOT use your layoff name in your communication to employees.
I’ve lived these types of examples and I’ve heard more of them lately. Each time I hear one it makes me utterly irate.
It’s insulting to the people you’re impacting as well as to the intelligence of those left behind, and only designed as a euphemism to make you feel better about what’s happening.
- Call it what it is: a layoff.
- Say that you’re sorry that this is the situation and that lives are impacted. It’s ok to say that you’re sorry. Really, it is.
- Express care and compassion for both those who have been impacted and those who survived.
- Be honest about why it had to happen.
- Give them a picture of the future, but keep the touch light initially. Give people time to process.
Just whatever you do, DON’T give it a stupid, euphemistic name.
These are just a few tips for how to handle layoffs. I’d love to hear yours. Contact me here.