Best Practices to Prepare Employees for Downsizing: Insights from Industry Leaders

Crawford Thomas Recruiting Blog

Navigating organization-wide downsizing and mass layoffs can be a significant challenge for HR professionals. However, responsible employers can foster stability by preparing employees for such possibilities. In a recent Forbes Human Resource Council article, leading industry experts, including William Stonehouse III, President of Crawford Thomas Recruiting, share their best practices to support employees during these challenging times.

For the full article, click here.

1. Communicate Candidly

Cat Colella-Graham from Coaching for Communicators emphasizes the importance of candid communication. Being open and honest about business challenges helps maintain trust, which is hard to earn but easy to lose.

2. Take Ownership of Decisions

Jon Lowe of DailyPay highlights the need for authenticity and ownership. Leadership must take responsibility for their decisions and their impacts, providing clear context without making excuses.

3. Act Quickly and Decisively

Sara Devitt of Dedrone advises ensuring that downsizing is done thoroughly and promptly. This minimizes prolonged anxiety among employees.

4. Articulate the Impact Clearly

Tonya Carruthers from PFFA Acquisition LLC stresses the importance of transparent communication about the reasons and potential impacts of downsizing on the organization and employees.

5. Empathize with Employees

Sherrie Suski of Tricon Residential recommends putting yourself in employees’ shoes. Transparent communication and advance information about benefits and resume preparation can reduce stress.

6. Explain the Rationale

Bryan Passman from Hunter + Esquire suggests helping employees understand the “why” behind downsizing decisions to maintain clarity and confidence.

7. Communicate Early

Tania White of Canary HR Consulting advises early communication and creating a space for ongoing dialogue, allowing employees to ask questions and stay informed.

8. Prepare for Stress

Kaitlyn Knopp of Pequity points out that stress impairs cognitive function. Simplifying processes like COBRA enrollment and providing clear information helps alleviate some of this stress.

9. Be Empathetic and Share Resources

William Stonehouse III, President of Crawford Thomas Recruiting, emphasizes transparent and empathetic communication. Providing resources for career transition support and counseling demonstrates care for employees’ well-being.

10. Keep Employees Informed

Jade Nikolaou from SecondMuse recommends keeping employees informed at every step, providing early notification and a clear timeline to help them prepare.

11. Anticipate Employees’ Questions

Prakash Raichur of Taghleef Industries suggests addressing employees’ potential questions in advance to provide clarity on their options and future possibilities.

12. Provide Support and Encouragement

Carolyn Mathis of Shondaland, Inc. highlights the importance of communication and support. Offering resources like interviewing techniques and transition services can ease the process for affected employees.

13. Inform About Severance Packages

Niki Jorgensen from Insperity advises informing employees about severance or layoff packages in advance, helping them prepare for the worst-case scenario.

14. Foster Peer Support

Matthew Reeves of Together Software suggests helping employees connect through peer support programs to reduce feelings of isolation.

15. Equip Department Heads

Ahva Sadeghi from Symba stresses the importance of equipping department leaders with clear communication strategies and plans to support their teams.

16. Be Realistic in Communication

Nakisha Dixon of Vercara advises being realistic and transparent in company-wide messages, especially during town halls.

17. Lean Into Humanity

Ursula Mead from InHerSight recommends that managers focus on humanity, both in letting people go and supporting those who remain. Mental health days and thoughtful communication are crucial.

18. Adhere to Legal and Ethical Standards

Dr. Nara Ringrose of Cyclife Aquila Nuclear emphasizes following legal frameworks and adopting ethical approaches to layoffs, utilizing HR and mental health support.

19. Offer Future Support

John Feldmann of Insperity suggests offering to serve as references for affected employees and organizing networking sessions to help them plan their next career moves.

20. Personalize the Experience

Erin ImHof of CertiK recommends one-on-one meetings for impacted individuals and providing customized emails with all necessary information.

By implementing these best practices, organizations can help ensure a more compassionate and supportive transition process during downsizing.

At Crawford Thomas Recruiting, we are committed to fostering a compassionate and supportive environment during challenging times. William Stonehouse III’s contributions to the Forbes Human Resource Council exemplify our dedication to industry leadership and employee well-being. By sharing expert insights and practical strategies, William and our team at Crawford Thomas Recruiting continue to guide organizations in navigating the complexities of downsizing with empathy and transparency. Our goal is to help businesses and their employees emerge stronger and more resilient, even in the face of uncertainty.

Crawford Thomas RecruitingBest Practices to Prepare Employees for Downsizing: Insights from Industry Leaders