Lay-Offs During the COVID-19 Crisis: The Right Steps to a Difficult Decision


Businesses across the U.S. find themselves still ensnared by the effects of the COVID-19 Virus. While in some regions of the U.S. businesses are slowly re-opening their doors, many businesses are feeling the loss of profits (or soon will be) and are faced with a number of difficult decisions. While a refined budget can work miracles for a company’s bottom line, a reduction in the workforce may be inevitable. Below you will find some great tips on how to handle the process like a seasoned professional.


Understand the difference between a lay-off and a termination


There are probably a dozen differences between a lay-off and a termination. Generally, terminations are a product of some action performed by the employee (tardiness, poor performance, etc). Lay-offs on the other hand are typically a product of things outside the employees control (company budgeting, viral pandemics, etc.). Therefore, in the case of a termination, management's responsibility stops at discharging the employee. In the event of a lay-off, management is expected to take the extra step and support of the employee after the discharge.


Allot an appropriate amount of time for the task


There is not a magic number of minutes required for performing lay-offs. Moreover, this is a time where an HR professional must show the utmost compassion, because they are delivering troubling news to someone that has made a significant investment of time to your company. You need to allot enough time in your schedule to sit with the employee, inform them of what is happening, inform them of what you are willing to help them with, and give them time to let the information settle enough to respond. If you allot 1 hour to lay-off 4 or more employees, you are setting yourself up to look like a heartless Disney movie villain. Additionally, never opt to do group lay-off meetings to save time; always do them individually.


Provide avenues of care and support


While you can no longer provide the employee with a steady paycheck, why not do everything in your power to help them find a position that will? Prior to conducting lay-offs, management should get together to develop a “lay-off packet.” Enclosed, employees should find informational material on what benefits they may be eligible for, how they can possibly return to school or vocational training, and contact information if they have questions or concerns. Additionally, there are many professional recruiting firms that are willing to partner with companies to help their ex-employees find work.


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Michael Chiovitti, Chief Talent Strategist

Eden Resources, LLC


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