Employee Relations, Human Resources, Leadership, Recruiting, Uncategorized

Supporting Your Employees During Layoffs

Logging onto LinkedIn these days can be as depressing as listening to the news.  Each day, there seems to be yet another company announcing massive layoffs.  We knew a lot of layoffs were occurring in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 and it still seemed to hit more of the smaller companies and family-owned businesses but now we are hearing it from major corporations as we have just started 2023.

There is a lot of advice out there for jobseekers and how they should network and position themselves to increase their chances of landing a new position, but as a manager what can you do to help your employees – current or former – if they find themselves impacted?

First, don’t wait for them to reach out to you – reach out to them.

I have read so many posts on LinkedIn from employees that have gotten the news that the one thing I think many fail to recognize is that they are still in shock over the news.  Some will find themselves getting angry as the news settles in while others may find themselves depressed and withdrawn.  Even the most outgoing and positive employee you may know will need some time to process what just happened.  But this is also where they need your help and you can start by simply calling them or sending them a quick note that you saw that they were recently laid off and wanted to let them know that you are there to help when they are ready to start job searching.  Some will take a week or two to decompress, while others will begin immediately because of the panic of not having an income anymore, but in each case just knowing someone acknowledged their situation and is willing to help will help them reengage when they are ready.

Offer to provide a recommendation for them.

Many companies shy away from offering recommendations for employees but that doesn’t mean that you can’t.  And I’m not just talking about serving as a reference for them.  Actually write them a recommendation letter and speak to their unique qualities and successful projects as your reasons why their future employee should considering adding them to their team.  Abbreviate that recommendation and add it to their LinkedIn profile so that recruiters can see while they are vetting potential candidates.

Share a snippet of the employee with a link to their profile on your LinkedIn profile page.

Most of us tend to connect with people on LinkedIn that are in the same field that we are and not always with recruiters or hiring managers in our industry so when a jobseeker makes a post on their page, their audience is limited.  If you share a blurb about this employee looking for their next opportunity, give your recommendation for them and share a link to their page, it helps them reach a far larger audience and some of those decision makers that may be able to help or further pass the information along.

Don’t be offended by those that haven’t reached out to you until they are laid off.

As much as we all preach, and preach to ourselves, that we need to remember to keep networking even while gainfully employed not everyone will do that.  Let’s face it – if you have a busy and demanding job and then responsibilities at home weighing on you, how likely are you to make the effort to continually network.  Don’t hold it against these employees recently laid off.  Many thought they were working for their “until retirement” company and were focused on simply being successful in their role. Many were also laid off not because of performance but simply re-budgeting.

One small thing you do can make a huge difference to someone else. With all that is going on in the world and close to home, take the opportunity to be the one that tries to help by making a small gesture.  Hopefully, it will help these laid off folks find their next opportunity faster.  And hopefully, you will set an example for others to pick up on so that we, as a human community, can help even more through these difficult times.

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