Friday, July 26, 2013

Layoffs are a Call to be Humane

(image credit)
In the C-Level Consultants Network on LinkedIn, Bob Whipple recently posted about his article - "Announcing a Downsizing" - and asked:
One principle I advocate is to be as transparent as possible as early as possible. There are certain situations that call for withholding information about a layoff. For example, if the valuation of the organization is going to be impacted, there may be a legal blockage. Often, nervous managers try to hide the fact too long and end up causing more harm than necessary.

What is your opinion on how and when to announce a downsizing?
I commented,

I often hope companies that say they put people first actually put people first. Layoffs may be one of the most difficult things a company has to do, but it demands that they walk the talk of that value. So your points, Bob, about transparency, trust and timing (alliteration, not intended) are very well-taken. I've been part of two layoffs situations, and my colleagues and I were left mostly to our own reading of the situation. The managers seemed particularly handcuffed by it, and struggled to communicate and to act humanely with us. Thankfully, the layoffs were small-scale, and focused on poor-performing staff.

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