Shares Employer Tips for Best Managing Layoffs
Last week alone, tens of thousands of layoffs were made all over
the United States and, according to government reports, 4.8 million
Americans were collecting unemployment by mid-January.
The construction industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors.
According to the Associated General Contractors of America, an estimated
two-thirds of the nation's non-residential construction companies
are planning layoffs this year-an expected 30-percent decline in
the number of people working on construction projects.
Even though layoffs and cutbacks are becoming more and more frequent,
they certainly aren't becoming easier-and in many cases that goes
for the employer just as much as the employees.
For companies faced with having to make layoffs there are a few
things that may help ensure a smooth process. Gene Grabowski is
a senior vice president with Levick Strategic Communications, a
Washington D.C.-based firm that councils companies and corporations
in crisis, such as layoffs, plant closings and bankruptcies. He
says there are three things an employer should take into account
when having to make layoffs.
"The first is to be transparent and to communicate with both
internal and external audiences about what you're going through;
you may need them again later on [when the economy] turns around,
so there's no need to hide," Grabowski says. "In times
like these you can honestly say the reason you have to do this is
because of the economy. Use the fact that you're not the only company
going through these situations. Be direct and speak to those external
audiences; they all understand and appreciate directness."
The second step when having to make layoffs, Grabowski says, is
to do them all at once.
"Breaking them up only stretches out the situation and will
make those people [in small groups] feel isolated," he explains.
"The smaller the group you layoff the more those people will
feel inadequate as employees."
And finally, Grabowski says to always take the opportunity to include
a message about the future.
"Tell them what you're looking forward to doing once things
turn around. A positive message will be a welcome surprise
have a future message about the better days that will return,"
For all companies in these tight times Grabowski adds that it's
critical to be open, honest and communicate with employees, their
communities and with Wall Street what they are going through.
"So when the company does come back the company can come back
stronger and with good will from those around."
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