5 Strategies to Minimize the Negative Impact of Employee Separations


5 Strategies to Minimize the Negative Impact of Employee Separations  

By Laura Poisson

There are few things leaders must do that are more difficult than terminating someone’s employment. The key to minimizing the negative impact on the affected employee and protecting morale in the workplace is to ensure separated employees at every level are treated with dignity and respect in the process. While there is “no one size fits all” approach to handling employee separations, here are 5 ways to minimize the negative impact. 


  1. No Surprises, please: Employees sense when there is instability in the business, particularly when it comes to restructuring and job-eliminations.  Transparency and open and honest communication helps to create trust between leadership and employees. Advanced signaling that change is in the air will give people an opportunity to prepare mentally and emotionally for change and a better platform for pivoting and moving forward once the changes have taken place. 


  1. Engage Employees in the Conversation as Early as Possible: The landscape of performance management is changing, allowing for more authentic, frequent and less formal conversations.  When it comes to performance issues, an employee underperforming in a role for a prolonged period erodes self-confidence and progress. Whenever possible, discuss strategies to help your employee improve performance or begin a dialogue that includes parting ways and agreeing on a transition plan. 


  1. Consider Notice: Working notice can help to facilitate a smooth transition for both the organization and the employee. It is based on the core belief that where trust and respect is extended, it is also returned. For this arrangement to be successful, it does require close management and clear communication between HR, the Manager and the Employee. When possible, this approach allows the employee the time to acclimate to the news, complete projects, and begin to prepare themselves for their job search.


  1. Create a Culture of Learning: Job security is not something any employer can guarantee, however creating a learning culture where individuals can take on new challenges and develop their functional and leadership skills will set them up for future success-with you or their next employer. 


  1. Provide Career Transition Support: For even the most successful, confident and talented professionals, unexpected job loss is a stressful, overwhelming and difficult life experience.  Working with a career consultant provides individuals with an opportunity to reflect on their strengths, clarify their goals and develop a strategy that will help them land sooner in a well aligned job. 


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