The past few weeks have been tough for employees around the world. The layoffs have not only affected people financially but also greatly impacted their social and mental life. Economic uncertainty brings with it a host of problems such as getting judged by your social circle, the possibility of needing financial assistance, the inability to meet expenses and financial commitments, and we could go on and on.
No, we’re not playing the devil’s advocate here. Losing your job is no joke and we understand that.
We were just pondering that the ones doing the layoffs are humans too. They also have a conscience, and the fear of rejection and disdain plague their thoughts just like they do ours.
It must be hard to have to let go of the people you build your organisation with. It must be hard to hand a termination letter to someone you have known for years and see the look of despair on their face. It can’t be easy to be at the receiving end of censure on social media and from your staff.
The economy is a beast untamed; its forces control our lives, but none of us seem to have any real control over it. Layoffs are inevitably a result of economic currents. Even though the management can sometimes prevent them, in extreme occasions like restructuring and businesses shutting off, they are unavoidable.
How can the management in such cases make it easier on their staff and themselves? We’ve got three words for you. Well, technically four.
Listen. Empathise. Be Kind.
Listen. There is no debate about how hard being laid off is. We’re sure you know your employees will have a lot to say about this. Hear them out. Give them the opportunity to voice their concerns and let them know that their voices are important and that they are being heard. Even if their layoff is inevitable, being heard can give people some closure and the courage to start over again.
Empathise. Empathy is like a boomerang. It will reflect back at you, no matter the circumstances. Help your employees feel seen. Help them understand that being laid off does not mean that they are any less valuable or talented. You will really be helping yourself here because people respond favourably to being seen and heard.
Be Kind. Put yourself in the shoes of the person being laid off and kindness will flow through you like a river. It’s tough to lose your job and we all know it. Kindness won’t stop the blow, but it may soften it.
Heed our advice and you’ll not only make it easier on your staff but your own mental health. You will go home with the tiniest satisfaction that you did your best, and that you faced the situation with dignity and kindness.