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What to Say During a Layoff, for 5 Different Stakeholders

February 22, 2017 by Raymond Lee

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Layoff events are very detailed processes, with hundreds of variables. It can be difficult to know what to say during a layoff if you are a person involved in administrating the event.


It can be even harder to tell people what to say during a layoff, if you are the HR executive in charge of executing said event. If you are a notification giver, download our layoff script with detailed information about what to say during a layoff, here.

Download our Layoff Script!

Depending on your role in the event, you will be required to say different things to various people. It is important for the HR leader in charge of executing to communicate with everyone involved his or her expectations about communication both internally and externally.

What to Say During a Layoff, for 5 Different Stakeholders

Executives: Executives should be warned of layoffs early to prepare the work processes within their functions. They should also be prepped on what to say during a layoff, particularly on how to speak in public or to the media, as that can have a major impact on employer brand and company financials.

Human Resources: Your HR team should be fully prepped on what to say during a layoff for a multitude of reasons. They should be able to answer questions about company benefits such as healthcare, financial planning, and outplacement. They should also be prepared on how to answer serious inquiries about mental health or company foul play in lieu of the stress of layoffs.

Coworkers: The co-workers of those that haven been given notifications notices need to be prepped on what to say during a layoff event as well. It is important for surviving coworkers to be sensitive of those being affected by the event by being tactful in what they say. It is also important for them to communicate with those given layoffs about changed worked processes, projects, and data.

Notification Givers: A notification giver should receive training on how to give a notification and how to handle the various responses that could result from the scenario. Download our free layoff script for notification givers, explaining what to say during a layoff, here.

External Vendors: Internal executives should discuss with external vendors what to say during a layoff if it will affect the work processes between the two organizations. The external vendor should then work with the person who is exiting to find a new point of contact for the vendor-organization relationship.

Make sure that all of these stakeholder discussions are addressed in your layoff plan template.

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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