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4 Considerations to Announcing a Layoff

July 31, 2023 by Raymond Lee

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It is almost one month since the Microsoft mishap where executives mangled a layoff memo that announced 12,000 employees were getting laid off. The only think positive that came out of this announcement was the fact that Microsoft’s stock price climbed since the news of job cuts.


We talk a lot about employer branding here at Careerminds, and for good reason. Companies spend copious amounts of capital and resources establishing a strong employer brand, only to have one incident muddy their name. As an outplacement provider, we get the value of building and safeguarding the employer brand. When companies make the tough decision to downsize, fire, or transition employees, it is vital that they get it right the first time around, know the law, and use some common sense…or maybe just enlist the help of HR Professionals.

Layoffs are a tough reality in business. Although the economy is steadily bouncing back, companies will always have to make changes that will align their workforce with industry needs. This can mean mass hiring, but it can also mean mass layoffs. When done correctly, a layoff announcement can be a smooth part of the normal business operations. Below are 4 considerations to announcing a layoff.

Considerations to Announcing a Layoff

1. Keep the message short and sweet. Employees can see right through fluff. Make sure that your message is direct and ties back to the business. Try not to use words like, “I can’t image how everyone is feeling”, “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news”, etc.

2. Communicate and have one reduction in force (RIF). During a reduction in force, employees are distracted from work, so consider having one layoff that achieves your organization’s objective verses having several rounds that leave employees guessing if another is to follow. If you have several rounds of layoffs, productivity will be impacted and employee engagement will be low.

3. Consider having individual meetings with all employees affected. Don’t be a Radio Shack and notify your employees by mass email. Your employees deserve better than that.

4. Provide a good outplacement program to impacted employees. This will go a long way with employees especially when they land in their new position. You want your exiting employees to say good things about you down the road. Outplacement services will directly impact your employer brand.

Remember that announcing a layoff doesn’t have to be risky business. Partner with HR and take the right steps.

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee is the President of Careerminds, a global outplacement company based in Wilmington, Delaware. He has over 20 years of human resource, outplacement, and career consulting experience. He has his bachelor’s in psychology and holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University. He is active in SHRM and ATD. Raymond’s been featured on SiriusXM Business Radio, CareerTalk, and the Wall Street Journal and he’s published a book titled, Clocking Out: A Stress-Free Guide to Career Transitions.

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