HUMAN RESOURCES LEADERSHIP
Known as Captain HR, Steve Lovig is a Top 10 Human Resources Professional Award Winner and HR Executive. SHRM-CP, PHR, Six-Sigma, and Agile HR Certifications, plus a Podcast Host and Writer. Captain HR offers several years’ experience as a well-respected, and successful HR Executive, with Master’s degree. Known as a “Different Kind of HR Leader,” Captain HR‘s background includes experience producing multi-million dollar additions to the bottom-line. Expertise in both high-growth and Fortune 500 organizations, excelling at human capital management, employee relations and retention, training, recruiting, and performance management. Several years demonstrated accomplishments as a trusted advisor to C-Suite, positively impacting the growth of the business. Adjunct Professor and proven communicator with an emphasis on listening effectively to encourage participation with constructive outcomes.
Active volunteer for social and business issues, while also occasionally blogging on HR, employment issues and job search ideas.
STEVE LOVIG (aka Captain HR)
LEADING WITH HEART THROUGH A STAFFING REDUCTION
You are seeing the messages almost everywhere; Layoffs are happening to hundreds of thousands of employees across the county! It’s VITAL THAT YOU DEMONSTRATE COMPASSION DURING A LAYOFF.
When an employee is losing their job because of an organizational change, and not because of their own performance, it can be traumatic for all of the HUMANS involved.
- In Sept 2022, HRForecast.com published an article by Iryna Chorna which said: “Downsizing concentrates on reducing workforce to save money on payroll and other HR expenses, while the goal of rightsizing is to maintain the right number of human resources. In terms of rightsizing initiatives, companies may initiate staffing cuts as well.”
- With no disrespect to Ms. Chorna, it sounds like there is little to no difference between downsizing and rightsizing. They both result in good people losing jobs because of a company decision.
Whether you call it “rightsizing,” “layoff,” “staff reductions,” “downsizing,” or something else, whenever an employee’s job is ripped away, that is the time for YOU to step up and LEAD WITH YOUR HEART! And Impact your Company’s BRAND in a positive way!
As organizations look at ways to reduce costs, they often include cutting staff. Whether you are a Human Resources Professional (as I am), or another type of Leader in an organization, the way you speak with every one of those employees matters.
- They are ALL watching what you say, and how you say it.
- Both the individuals losing their jobs, and the individuals left behind are paying close attention!
- And – that’s where you can Positively Impact your Company’s BRAND in a layoff!
- Human Resources Leadership must provide specific ‘talking points’ to be used when speaking to the laid-off individuals.
- Language developed by the HR Executive needs to be used when speaking to employees; for the Manager with impacted employees, the HR Professional who will work side-by-side with that Manager to deliver the message, the CEO, for addressing the entire organization at the end of the re-structuring, and each Manager over other departments where no employees were laid-off. This is NOT a time to ad-lib your comments.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: TREAT THEM WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT
The right communication will help ensure you’ve treated all employees with dignity and respect. Communicating openly and honestly with both the Impacted Employees and those who were not part of the staff reduction is vital; the latter will often have to pick up additional responsibilities and will frequently feel “Survivor’s Guilt.”
- THEIR MANAGER: TALKING DIRECTLY WITH THE EMPLOYEE
In most situations, an employee is suspecting they’ll be included in a layoff. But even so, you want to give them background on your decision.
- Based on benchmarking with others in our industry, we have determined lower staffing levels are needed across the company, which will result in some job loss.
- To reduce costs, we are restructuring, resulting in the elimination of a few roles including yours.
- Thank you for your dedication to helping the organization.
- Unfortunately, your position has been determined to be one of those impacted, so today will be your last day of work with us.
- Then let your Human Resources Professional take it from there.
- THE HR PROFESSIONAL: CONTINUE SPEAKING WITH (NOW) FORMER EMPLOYEE
The HR Professional explains ‘next steps.’ Tell the (now) former employee:
- Final Pay.
- Health Care Coverage and Benefit Premiums (if applicable).
- Separation Payment (if applicable).
- Equipment Returns (if applicable).
- Confirm Personal Information.
- Email Separation Packet.
- IT’S ABOUT LEADING WITH YOUR HEART! Impact your Company’s BRAND in a positive way! Provide Career Resources.
Don’t skip this step. Ensure your HR Professionals make themselves available to provide CAREER COACHING to former employee
- ALL MANAGERS: TALKING DIRECTLY WITH THE REMAINING EMPLOYEES
Once the lay-off conversations have been completed, it is time to COMMUNICATE THE COMPANY’S MESSAGE. Again, your HR Executive needs to develop Talking Points for the managers to use when speaking with their Depts.
- History shows it’s best to bring about “group closure” following a staff reduction. It gives employees a chance to express their concerns publicly and hear directly from their manager, exactly what occurred. This not only minimizes concern relating to the employees’ own job security but also diminishes the rumor mill.
- If your goal is to treat current and former employees with dignity and respect, providing an All-Dept Meeting is vital. Employees will have questions; here are a few FAQs to help you respond:
• Question: How many employees were let go today?
- Answer: “I don’t know that exact number; I can tell you it was several, and some you may know personally. This is a difficult time for those individuals, and for all of us. What I really need you to focus on is yourself and your role, so we can move forward as a team.”
• Question: Who’s going to do all the work that XX employee did?
- Answer: “With the elimination of any position, other members of the Department/Region will have to take on the remaining duties. That’s something we’ll simply have to deal with in this new size.”
- “Your Leadership Team believes we are staffed effectively and will be able to meet planned production levels.”
• Question: What should I say if someone asks me for a reference?
- Answer: “Contact NAME/TITLE of HR Professional. They will ensure calls are responded to following COMPANY’S policy of giving hire date, term date, and title of last position held.”
• Question: What if I get a call from other employees, like maybe a FORMER employee?
- Answer: “Refer them to your Human Resources Team.”
• Question: What if I get a call from someone saying they’re with the “MEDIA”?
- Answer: “Refer them to our Manager of Marketing (or other appropriate Dept).”
It is important to remember – HOW you treat the people your company is laying off WILL impact your Company’s Brand. Lead with your HEART, and make the Layoff Process a POSITIVE MARK on your Company’s brand.
Let me know if you have additional suggestions to help others going through a “rightsizing,” “layoff,” “staff reduction,” “downsizing,” or whatever you call it … LEAD WITH YOUR HEART!