Managing Layoffs

It’s never easy for managers to eliminate unneeded workers, but it’s possible to learn how to lay off employees in a manner that minimizes the discomfort of all parties involved. Fortunately, there has been a substantial amount of research into the proper ways of planning a layoff. Part of the process should include offering outplacement services to the employees whose services are no longer needed at the company—that’s where Careerminds can help. Learn more about how we can help by scheduling a demo.

As with any other well-run, well-planned business meeting, the layoff discussion needs to be structured so that it has a beginning, middle, and an end. Within that structure there are seven steps you need to include:

The Decision

The manager should begin by clearly communicating the decision to terminate the worker’s employment with the company.

The Reason for the Decision

The manager should explain the rationale for the decision, making it clear to the employee why he or she will no longer be working at the company.


Elicit feedback and listen. Allow natural breaks in the discussion for the employee to react and vent. It is important to indicate that you are listening. Ideally, an HR representative should be involved with this stage of the process.

Severance Information

The HR representative should be on hand to help the employee go through the severance agreement.

Career Transition Information

The HR rep should communicate what will be done to help the employee during this transition. The employee should be made aware of the outplacement services available.

Work Transition Information

The manager should communicate how and when the transition of work will occur.


The HR rep should communicate that an employee assistance program (EAP) is available if they choose to utilize it. Otherwise, the employee will typically exit the building at this time.