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Planning & Managing Layoffs

By April 2, 2020February 14th, 2022No Comments

Since most people have no idea how to do layoffs well, nor have a resource to help them, this document now exists. I’ve unfortunately had to do layoffs, and helped others through them, so I want to share some best practices and things to think through as you do a layoff. I’m starting from the point that you’ve already done everything possible to avoid a layoff and you’ve gone through the difficult process of figuring out what roles to eliminate. (I say what roles, not who, because that’s how you should be thinking about this. It’s not a person by person decision, it’s a role by role decision.)

Also note: I am not a lawyer. I am not your HR person. And as I point out below, you absolutely must consult experienced counsel and HR professionals in this process.

Properly executing a layoff is important in a few dimensions: legally, culturally, and ethically. How you handle a layoff, how you communicate it to the people impacted, and how you manage and lead throughout the process really matters. It matters to the people who are now leaving the business, and it matters to the team that is part of the go-forward plan, and neither group will forget how people were treated.