Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

Best Practices For Conducting a Layoff

At some point in your HR career, you may have to lay off employees. Are you ready?

No business likes laying off employees. But sometimes eliminating positions is the only way to keep a business solvent and/or make room for new ventures. If you’re thinking about starting or advancing a human resource career, the chances are high that, at some point, you’ll be tasked with helping your company conduct a layoff. Will you be prepared? After all, there are right ways and wrong ways to handle a layoff. Here are a few tips for doing it right.

Best Practices For Conducting a Layoff

Keep Employees Informed About Company Performance

If you’re doing a good job at human resource management, you will have a system in place for keeping employees aware of the company’s performance. Layoffs often follow a significant and prolonged business downturn, which means they should never be a surprise to anyone in the company. By keeping everyone aware of earnings problems, and making sure employees understand that layoffs may be a consequence, you can avoid hitting people with bad news out of the blue.

Choose the Right People to Lay Off

For layoffs to be an effective solution to company problems, you have to be strategic. Before you lay anyone off, take time to consider each employee’s importance to the company, the relationship between their compensation costs and their value, and whether or not their roles will need to be partially or fully replaced. In short, make sure you keep your best, most necessary people. Additionally, make sure you pay attention to anti-discrimination and other labor laws. You don’t want your choice to open your business up to a lawsuit or criminal complaint.

Properly Time Layoffs

Layoffs are stressful for everyone at a company. As an HR manager, it’s your job to manage that stress. One way to keep things under control is to time your layoffs so they create the least disruption. Tuesday morning can be a good time to conduct layoffs since it allows for the week to begin in full but leaves plenty of time for a new routine to set in and for you and management to assuage the concerns of those who weren’t laid off.

Be Compassionate

When telling someone they are losing their job, do so in person and behave in a way that is professional but warm. Conduct layoffs in private, have tissues on hand, and have all the information about compensation readily available so the employee doesn’t have to scramble to take notes. Many feel devastated upon learning they’ve lost their job, so be prepared to help the person gather belongings and find transportation home. If you’re offering job search services, make that clear and make taking advantage of the services easy.

Be Honest

Tell your employees why they are being laid off. Understanding the financial problems of the company can help people better cope with the loss of their job. Likewise, if you make it clear that the problem isn’t employee performance, the employee is more likely to imagine a positive future.

Be Respectful

Being laid off is not the same as being fired and shouldn’t be treated as such. Consider relaxing policies about escorting people from the building. Also, consider establishing a set time for laid-off employees to come in and say goodbye to their co-workers and/or collect their belongings. Unless you have a good reason to suspect an employee will behave badly, don’t make them feel like you see them as a threat.

How You Can Learn More With a Master’s in Human Resource Management

Layoffs are just one of the many issues you’ll likely face in your HR career. To ensure you’re prepared for the many challenges of the field, you should consider earning an advanced human resource degree. Specially, earning an MS in Human Resource Management can give you the knowledge and skills you need to excel in HR and earn a higher human resource salary.

Fortunately, earning an advanced HR degree is more convenient than ever before. That’s because online education is changing how working adults learn. Instead of worrying about being near a campus, you can choose an online master in human resource program and complete your coursework right from home. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of online learning’s flexible scheduling, which lets you choose when in the day you attend class.

Conducting layoffs is not the easiest part of an HR career, but it is a common one. With an online master’s in human resource management, you can learn the best way to conduct layoffs and handle the many other challenges of human resources.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Human Resource Management degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,