Layoffs and the Importance of Resilience

March 16, 2016 by Meredith Brandt

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Layoffs are tough on employees, for both those who are involved in the layoffs and those who are left at the company after terminations are conducted. HR professionals are typically trained to handle the emotional aftermath within their organization but are less adept at dealing with their own personal bounce back after a restructuring. It’s important for HR professionals to recognize the need to take care of themselves, make sure their own personal resilience is strong, in order to best help their company.


In conducting layoffs, HR professionals may feel disheartened, unenergized, and pained. Here are three ways professionals can make sure they are taking the best possible care of themselves during such a tricky time.

1. Know that doing everything you can is the best you can do.

According to an article from HR Magazine, HR professionals should remind themselves that in most cases, layoffs are beyond their control. In order to feel better about the process, they then should ensure the best possible transition for their former employees. By focusing on taking care of those leaving the company, providing them resources like outplacement to ease their transition, HR professionals should recognize that they gave their all to their employees and commend themselves for making the best out of a difficult situation.

2. Be prepared for the meetings.

“Being prepared will help HR people with their own feelings of guilt,” says psychologist and executive director of the Lake Shore Center for Psychological Services, Hap LeCrone, Ph.D., in the HR Magazine article. Know the variables at play when conducting layoffs, understand the possible reactions employees may have to the news, and have back-up. For instance, in the article, LeCrone also says that, when layoffs are conducted, he likes to be there, looking out for negative body language and assessing the situation himself, taking some of the pressure off of the HR personnel conducting the layoffs.

3. Talk with other people in HR.

It is so helpful to connect with colleagues who have been in the same or similar situations — they know what conducting terminations is like. “Commiserating with HR colleagues and other senior managers serves as one of the best emotional releases,” says the article. It’s also important for HR colleagues to debrief with each other, figure out what’s working, and adapt to make sure that everything is handled in the fairest and most universally appropriate way possible. Especially when dealing with HR members from across experience levels, make sure that everyone is talking to each other, being aware of their colleagues’ states, and helping each other along the way.

To find out more about how to make sure HR professionals maintain their resilience, tune into Careerminds’ webinar “Resilience Booster Shot For HR Professionals” on March 22, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Meredith Brandt

Meredith Brandt

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