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6 Ways to Manage the Impact of a Layoff

By April 29, 2024May 22nd, 2024No Comments

Navigating the complexities of layoffs can be a challenging task for any organization. However, proactive employers can significantly influence positive outcomes for their laid-off employees through strategic planning, effective partnerships, supportive services, and thoughtful transitions. While some decisions require broad, macro-level strategies like targeting a countercyclical customer base, many effective actions are straightforward and practical. By implementing a combination of these approaches, employers can help mitigate the impact of layoffs, ensuring a smoother transition for affected employees and preserving the integrity and morale of the remaining workforce. 

Here are six practical strategies that employers have utilized to mitigate the impact of layoffs:

  1. Providing Notice – In certain cases involving sensitive information or business operations, it’s crucial to announce a layoff promptly and remove affected employees immediately to avoid potential risks such as damage to employer property or relationships. In many instances, giving employees a week or more of notice presents minimal risk and allows for a smooth transition for those taking on reassigned work. Additionally, it provides employees with time to start their job search. Studies indicate that employed job seekers generally fare better than those who are unemployed.
  2. Being Intentional About Internal Transfers – For larger companies, a deliberate focus on internal transfer opportunities should commence as soon as a layoff is anticipated. Following the layoff announcement, it’s vital to continue providing internal references and connections to identify potential openings, whether already posted or forthcoming. Rehiring employees with company history who have been thoroughly vetted can be a valuable asset and a means of mitigating the impact of a layoff.
  3. Providing Proactive ReferencesCommon practice when providing references is to provide  “name, rank, and serial number” only reference approach for employees who were terminated, particularly if the termination was contentious. However, most laid-off employees, particularly post-COVID-19, part ways amicably, citing a lack of work as the reason for separation. In such cases, promptly and proactively preparing a reference letter and/or providing LinkedIn endorsements not only reaffirms the value of laid-off employees during a time when their confidence may wane, potentially easing their job search, but also streamlines the hiring process for prospective new employers.
  4. Using Proactive Outplacement – Outplacement or reemployment services can assist employees in focusing on their next career move rather than dwelling on past grievances with their former employer. However, the type of outplacement services offered can significantly impact their effectiveness. Historically, the outplacement industry has tended to prioritize the “out” over the “placement,” focusing on a smooth transition out of employment to maintain goodwill and prevent employment claims. Often, services would begin with career counselors engaging employees at the start of their unemployment but transition to a reactive “call me when you need me” approach after the first month of unemployment.
  5. Communicating Layoffs with Sensitivity – Managers trained in delivering layoffs sensitively yet decisively can lessen the initial shock and provide appropriate hope for employees. For employers offering outplacement services, a critical aspect is explaining both the benefits and the potential to increase job search success by 60% through embracing best practices.
  6. 501(c) HR Services – Our dedicated HR Services team is here to lend a helping hand. Whether you’re seeking guidance on processes, sample verbiage, letters, forms, or checklists, we’ve got you covered. Reach out to us today to discuss your needs and let us help alleviate some of the burdens associated with this challenging phase. Together, we can make it a smoother task.

The 501(c) Agencies Trust offers members complimentary reemployment packages, through NextJob, to help your laid off employees land jobs much more quickly. Contact us for more information on job search packages.

(Images by: Ilixe48 and

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