4 tips to announce layoffs humanely

Communicate early and often, let employees have their say, and build up those who are staying on staff.

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Navigating change isn’t easy, but employees want the truth—especially if the news is bad.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to communicate job losses, but if you do, here are four tips to handle the process with care and respect:

1. Communicate early and often.

No one wants to be the bearer of bad news—especially when it affects colleagues’ livelihoods. However, change management research has revealed that employees overwhelmingly prefer advance notice. There’s nothing humane, helpful or respectful about saving bad news until the last minute or late Friday afternoon.

If execs are urging silence to avoid employee panicking or a hit to morale, remind them that lack of communication just makes things worse. Fight to share news and updates early and often, and give your team time to process what’s coming—logistically and emotionally.

2. Provide a go-to communications resource.

The rumor mill will be buzzing wildly when layoffs are afoot. You can’t prevent chatter, but you can counteract negative narratives on your intranet or on a microsite devoted to keeping employees in the loop.

Whatever platform you choose, share the business reasons behind the organizational change along with timely updates as the process unfolds.

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