What to do When Layoffs are Coming

Hi everybody, I’m Mike Staver, this is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where we answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question:

Dear Mike, I know for a fact that my company is going to lay off 10% of the employees in our company. Some of those work in my division, indirectly for me. The company is going about it all wrong, in my opinion, by waiting and giving them almost no notice. Now, because it’s 10% of the company they’re subject to the Plant Closure Act, or something like that, so we’re going to have to provide some resources and so forth for them at the time of layoff. However, the way the company’s doing it goes against everything I am, just to sit on this information and not share it. Should I just tell them and suffer the consequences?

Now, if you worked for me, we wouldn’t be waiting until the last minute to lay these people off.

The question is: what is our motive? Are we doing things to protect the company or to protect the employee? We should be doing things that do both.

So, I want you to go to your boss and I want you to have a conversation. I want you to find out where the dead limit is for what you can say and share. And get real clear. Then secondly I want you to go back and say something like “Times are changing, the business is changing, you know there’s been a lot of adjustments being made, so I think what my commitment is to you is to make you wildly employable by continuing to develop you, continuing to coach you, and continuing to help you. I don’t know what the storm looks like going forward, exactly, but I do know that it’s a little stormy right now and my job is to help you navigate that, and so I’m going to do everything I can to do that.”

And then encourage each person to have a development plan. And a plan has three things:
1. Best case scenario plan
2. Worst case scenario plan
3. Most likely case scenario plan

And help them figure out what they’d do in each of those cases. That way you don’t have to tell them what’s actually going to happen, but when it does happen (because who knows, the company may change it’s mind) they could pull out that plan and say here’s the specific thing I’m going to do because the worst just happened, the best just happened, or the more likely just happened.

That way, you protect the trust your employers put in you, and you also protect your employees.

Hope that’s helpful! I’m Mike Staver this is Mondays with Mike. Take care.

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