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Been Laid Off or Laying off Employees? - Some key tips

Been Laid Off or Laying off Employees? - Some key tips

Being laid off or having to lay off employees is never a nice thing. Here we offer some advice from both sides of the table.


If you’ve been laid off:

  • Get calm: The human brain does not make good decisions when it is overwhelmed with negative emotions. So make sure you take time to get calm and centred before making any plans or taking action.


  • Take care of yourself: It’s OK to feel bad about it. Work is a big part of our identity. The five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — can apply to losing a job, and not necessarily in that specific order. People will experience all of those emotions at some point. Many people can access mental health support via multiple online platforms nowadays, and is a great place to start if it becomes overwhelming.

  • Make sure you understand what’s happening: Figure out any remaining work expectations; understand how long your benefits last; gather severance details; and know your last day of employment.

  • Put together a financial plan: Determine what you can or can’t do if you’re not earning money or if you’re getting unemployment payments. If you have a three-month plan, it’s beneficial.

  • Talk to others: Reach out to the people in your life, both personal and professional, and let them know what’s going on. Social support is vital to coping effectively with stress and loss.
  • Remember your value: Confidence can take a hit after being laid off and while searching for a job. Talking to former colleagues or bosses is a helpful reminder of the experience and skills that set you apart. Those people can also provide recommendations and endorsements for your LinkedIn profile.

  • Don’t fret over what happened: Most of the time, you’ll never know the whole story about why you were laid off. You want to know the ‘what’ that comes next, instead of focusing on the ‘why’ it happened. Do not attach your value to the layoff.

  • Ask for help: This is not the time to be shy about asking for favours. Let your former colleagues or bosses know that you’re looking for a new gig. Join networks, speak to recruiters or other groups and share your interest in finding a job.

  • Be kind to yourself: Practice self-compassion. Challenging situations often unveil a whole host of negative internal dialogue. Our brain becomes filled with a chorus telling us all the things we should have or shouldn’t have done, that we should or shouldn’t do, or ways in which we have failed ourselves or others. Instead, treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Give the kind of reassurance, care, support and kindness to yourself in the same way you’d help a friend.

  • Stay active: There is nothing like some blood, sweat and tears mixed with sheer determination to help ground you.

If you’re laying off employees:

  • Lead with empathy, care, and compassion: Each step of the layoff process should be done in a thoughtful way, including how the news is communicated to both those affected and those who are not. Leaders need to bring a lot of empathy to each of those conversations. Doing so can pay dividends — those leaving the company may continue to champion the brand if they are treated well on the way out, while employees that remain can feel more comfortable about the road ahead — and as a result, perform at a higher level.

  • Prepare managers: The role of managers in delivering layoff news to impacted employees can be overlooked. Execs and individuals get most of the attention, but middle managers have the most challenging emotional labour right now. Companies need to make sure managers understand entirely why the layoffs are happening and are prepared to answer questions.

  • Help beyond severance or benefits: One of the most significant safety nets a company can provide beyond health insurance or money is helping laid-off employees rebuild their resumes and get ready to interview for new jobs. Companies can also offer introductions to other employers, or compile lists of impacted employees that can be used by recruiters elsewhere.


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