written by
Animesh Rai

4 Tips to Handle Difficult HR Conversations, on Layoffs and Terminations

HR Policies Personal Effectiveness Emotional Culture Leadership 1 min read

Sometimes HR department is compelled to do the unpleasant tasks of terminating an under – performing employee or layoff among the existing work force. Layoff or pruning the existing workforce may be essential, keeping in view the work load , job distribution and overall objective of the organisation, to keep it efficient.

In all such cases, the emotions of the affected persons must be assuaged appropriately. As a HR, you should appear to be unbiased and unprejudiced.

Following strategies may be adopted to deal with such situations.

1) Keep the element of surprise minimum

Firing of an employee should never come as a surprise. An under performing employee must be given an opportunity to improve upon his or her performance. Layoffs may be sudden, but all efforts should be made to give a fore – warning, in some pretext or the other.

2) Be truthful

If an under performing employee did not improve even after having been given ample opportunity, tell him clearly the same. In sudden lay off, support should be tried to be given for transition by way of help in searching jobs, placements.

3) Be ready to face the anger and or reactions

If somebody is terminated or laid off, it is natural to expect anger, sadness or disbelief. Be prepared for any eventuality in all such cases.

4) Hold an exit Interview

An exit interview must be held to understand and assess, what went wrong. Some of the questions which may be asked are :

  • What was the better way of supporting them?
  • What did they like about the work culture in this organization?
  • What are the things, which could be improved upon, in this organisation?
HR Conversations-Exit Interview
xiPhotographer: Johanna Buguet | Source: Unsplash

Appraise the top management, about the results of such, exit interviews.

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