By Yair Riemer

It’s not unusual for offboarding to be handled in a perfunctory manner when it comes to reductions in force (RIF) and layoffs. But doing so can negatively impact not only outgoing employees, but also your remaining staff and your employer brand. Here are three tips to ensure as positive an outcome as possible to what can be a challenging situation.

Formalize Your Offboarding Process

Having a formalized process in place, with defined roles and responsibilities, written materials, scripts, locations (if onsite), and other factors predetermined, makes offboarding easier and less painful for all involved.

Use this RIF checklist to ensure that you don’t forget to include any important steps in your process.

Treat Your Employees with Compassion

Having your formalized offboarding process in place will help you to more easily deal with the emotional aspect of each meeting. Employees faced with sudden news of layoffs, RIFs, or terminations will have a variety of emotions, ranging from fear to sadness to anger. If conducting the meetings in-person, treat them respectfully by conducting individual offboarding meetings in a location that offers privacy. Conduct individual meetings for virtual layoffs as well, rather than scheduling a group call. Remain calm and supportive.

By clearly communicating any severance, benefits, final pay, and/or other information pertinent to their offboarding, you will remove some of the fear caused by the unknown that is inevitable with a layoff. Offering outplacement services as part of your offboarding benefits package can assist impacted individuals with finding new employment faster and will help them see that support won’t end once they walk out the door.

Conducting the meetings with care and providing resources and benefits to the offboarded employees will also reduce the possibility of negative employer reviews on sites such as Glassdoor.

Clearly Communicate the News with Remaining Staff

After offboarding your employees, it’s a best practice to clearly communicate the departures to your remaining staff. They will hear about the exits one way or another, so it’s in the company’s best interest to get in front of the messaging by letting your workforce know the reasons for the dismissals (if possible), assuaging their fears about the future of the company and their own futures, and presenting a vision for moving forward. Conduct these communications, whether via in-person or remote company or departmental meetings, in a timely manner. In addition to helping to maintain the trust of your employees, by treating them respectfully you’ll again avoid negative impact to your employer brand.

In Summary

With these practices in place, you can reduce the stress of your HR team and department heads, conduct offboarding more efficiently, and help retain your remaining employees and your brand reputation.

About the Author

Yair Riemer is chief executive officer of Intoo USA, a provider of outplacement and other candidate-focused solutions. With extensive experience in human resources (HR) technology, he is passionate about developing tools for the modern HR professional and candidate. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration from Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv.

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