Top Ways to Help Make Life Easier for Workers You Need to Lay Off


Having to let people go is never fun, but there are ways to go about the process that will both keep your relationships intact and help laid-off staff members to move onto a new role. If you want to support people you’re about to say goodbye to at work, read on for some top tips you can follow today.

Be Honest, Respectful, and Communicative

For starters, it is important to treat people with respect when you’re letting them go. A lot of firms have a set termination policy in place that doesn’t change, no matter the circumstances of someone’s exit. Often, this involves escorting the terminated employees from the building, and ensuring they have returned any company property that may have been in their possession.

Although this may be a required tactic in occasional cases, when workers are laid off through no fault of their own, this type of process can be humiliating and simply uncalled for. Employees should be given the chance to say goodbye to their colleagues and to leave in a dignified fashion that honors their previous place in the team and the contributions they have made to the organization. It is difficult enough for people to lose their jobs; don’t compound it by making them feel like a criminal or someone whose work has not been valued at all.

In addition to how you treat people on their last day, make sure you are honest and sensitive when you deliver the termination news to them. Employees deserve to find out the real reasons for the changes in the company, and realize that their being let go doesn’t have to do with their reputation or your impression of their work or them as a person. Giving workers the real facts behind the layoffs will help them to not lose self-esteem and confidence, as well as assist them to process what has happened and why. This, in turn, makes it easier for people to move forward and get a new job.

Being communicative about the process involved is also very helpful for people. While you might be uncomfortable about having to give employees the bad news and want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible, it is vital that the employee understands what options are available to them, and what support they will be given. You should take the time to go through any termination paperwork step by step, too, so that you’re sure they understand each detail; plus give them time to ask questions and get their head wrapped around the situation.

Listen and Make Career Counseling Available

Next, keep in mind that, a lot of the time, workers are shocked when they are told that they are being let go. Even if the “writing was on the wall” in some respects, it is still a different matter when you actually find out the news for real. As such, you’ll make things easier for people if you listen to them as they try to process what is happening.

They may want to vent, express concerns about their future, try to bargain for their job, or express other types of emotions and opinions. By acting as a listening post in the privacy of your office you will give them a chance to get collected before they have to exit and face their colleagues or family members.

It is also a good idea to, wherever possible, make career counseling available to laid-off employees. This service can not only help them when it comes to dealing with the potential grief, anger, worry, and other emotions that typically arise from such a change, but also give them the ability to discuss their career path moving forward. Some might want to look at an alternative career, or undertaking study. Career counselors are trained to help people make a plan and cope with the transition period.

Utilize Outplacement Services

Lastly, it also pays to utilize outplacement services to help your staff members find their feet after being laid off. Outplacement firms offer specialist services to help individuals search for and land new positions after losing a job. In particular, outplacers tend to be contracted by companies to help them meet their duty of care to workers facing redundancy.

Hire an outplacement firm and you can have trained professionals on hand to assist terminated employees put together a new resume and cover letter, run through interview coaching and other types of interview preparation, take advantage of networks and referrals, get up to speed on social media usage in job hunts, and find out about relevant positions to apply for.


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