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Emotionally preparing yourself for layoffs


When the need for a reduction in staff is unavoidable, a layoff that is executed properly can be a way of fixing the problem and the company excelling. No one looks forward to downsizing, it can be an extremely difficult and emotional task. However, you can prepare yourself emotionally by fully understanding that a layoff is necessary for the company to continue and for its future growth. You can avoid common pitfalls and eliminate problems of downsizing by planning to downsize in an effective manner that is respectful to people's dignity.

Before executing layoff's be sure to have a clear, well-defined vision of what the company wants to accomplish and where the emphasis and focus will be after the layoff. If the company does not share its clearly defined vision among the entire management team, it will most likely will have a negative affect on the company in the future, in which more layoffs will be necessary.


Quite often layoffs are poorly executed. Employee's are often treated like children. Information is withheld as management attends several hush-hush meetings. The manner in which management treats employee's that are laid off is often how the remaining employee's will be treated or fear they will be treated. This matters because if the company plans to keep operating and hopes for future growth, they do not want to lose the employee's they have chosen to keep. The remaining employee's may start looking for a better place to work when they see how poorly those laid-off are treated.

It is important to respect the law when planning for layoffs. You should not have a problem upholding the law if you have planned your lay-off according to the needs of the business, and not head count or seniority. If you base your layoff on factors other than business needs you will most likely find yourself in legal trouble. Employment laws include laws such as entitlements tied to civil rights, age discrimination, disabilities, worked adjustment and retraining. These laws may vary in different countries so be sure thoroughly research your country's employment laws.

You lessen the emotional impact felt by you and your employee's when it comes to downsizing by treating employees with respect and being empathetic to what they are feeling. It is better to communicate to much rather than withholding information. Be sure to research and abide by any applicable laws. Also, give employees the psychological space to accept the layoff and then be willing to discuss what has happened.

Poorly executed layoffs are inefficient and very unproductive. Choosing to give employees as little notice as possible is often done out of fear or guilt. Managers often fear employee's might be demoralized and unproductive if they know about being laid off in advance. They may even fear employee's will sabotage their business. There is no documented evidence of an advance notice of layoffs increasing incidents of employee sabotage. However, the lack of advance notice does largely increase mistrust of management among remaining employees. When information is withheld from employees that are being laid off that could be extremely helpful to them in planning their own lives and plans for the future, management is creating a cycle of mistrust that can be destructive to the future success of the company and take years to correct.

Many times after a layoff has been executed managers believe the less said about it the better and everyone will soon forget and move on. While in reality the employees that remain will talk about what has happened regardless if management does or doesn't . Allow remaining employees to speak their mind about what has happened and use this as an opportunity to pull together as a team.

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