Healthcare Layoffs: 3 Things HR Needs to Know

June 22, 2017 by Josh Hrala

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Healthcare layoffs are on the rise right now. In fact, a recent review reports that there have been 48 healthcare layoffs already in 2017, a number that will surely rise as the calendar pages turn.

For those in HR handling these healthcare layoffs and hospital downsizing efforts, it is an understandably stressful time. No one likes layoffs, but it’s a mandatory part of the job.

To help, here’s a handy guide for wading through these troubled waters to ensure that your organization and the outgoing employees move on successfully.

Healthcare Layoffs: The Notification Meeting

The first thing that will happen if your organization is starting to downsize is the notification meeting where the HR manager will meet with those getting let go. This is the toughest part of the whole process and should be handled with care.

Sadly, with healthcare layoffs on the rise, looking to eclipse the amount of hospital layoffs in 2016, these meetings are becoming more and more common, meaning you should be prepared to handle them with a delicate yet effective touch.

This means having a plan on paper and a layoff script. The good news is that we have a script ready for you to customize, which you can download here completely for free:
Download our Layoff Script!

Layoff scripts are important for two reasons. One is that they keep you focused on the task at hand, and the other is that they make sure you hit very specific points like talking about severance packages and outplacement, which brings us to our next point:

Healthcare Layoffs: What to Include in a Severance Package

At the end of your layoff notification meeting, you will need to present the employee with their severance package. This typically includes a lump payment to help ease the transition into a new job. However, one of the most important – and often overlooked – things to add is proper outplacement services.

In short, outplacement is a service you can and should provide to your outgoing employees that allows them to reenter the job market, update their resumes, and find new employment in the most stress-free way possible. For those getting let go in healthcare layoffs, these services can give a dramatic boost to their job hunt.

Also, outplacement – and severance packages in general – help deflect some of the bad press your organization may get during a layoff. Keeping your reputation intact is vital in today’s world. Tarnishing can seriously impact what talent applies to your organization in the future, what people stay working for you, and what customers use your service. Why not go the extra step to protect it?

Healthcare Layoffs: A Perfect Storm

While we’re on the subject of little known things HR managers should know while handling healthcare layoffs, it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger job market at large. For example, hospital downsizing in the United States isn’t the only major shift in the workforce, though it is often talked about a lot. The bigger impact is the Baby Boomer retirement.

10,000 Baby Boomers are expected to leave the workforce every day for the next decade or so. If you couple that with healthcare layoffs, hospitals are undergoing a serious shakeup that is going to hit HR hard.

With all this disruption, HR needs to plan ahead, recognizing the climate and acting accordingly. Now that you have a layoff script, a proper severance package, and the knowledge of what’s to come. There’s only one thing left to be fully covered: a plan for your workforce.

Healthcare Layoffs: Workforce Planning and Development

This comes as a no-brainer given all we know about healthcare layoffs and downsizing. You’re going to need to a plan – yes, another plan – to make sure that you have a proper workforce and that you are constantly developing new leaders to take over for the exiting ones regardless if they are retiring or are let go for other reasons.

Workforce planning is important at all times. After all, how are you supposed to manage your staff without one? These plans should be updated regularly to reflect the situations you may have to handle. Right now, that means layoffs. In the future, it could be a hiring boom. Things change rapidly and with proper planning you can get through the changes much more easily.

The good news is that we have you covered on this front, too. Click here for a free workplace planning template that you can use for free:

Download Our Workforce Planning Template!

Using everything we mentioned here and understanding the current job market at large will help you weather the storm of healthcare layoffs with ease.

Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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