Layoffs Are Painful. But You Can Communicate Them Compassionately | Harvard Business Review

Leadership & Culture

As many organizations are considering or implementing reductions in force or layoffs, HR leaders and HRBPs are tasked with helping managers prepare for these difficult conversations. This HBR article shares considerations for planning and implementing a communication plan —with compassion— when going through reductions/layoffs. One point made—and which has played out publicly over the last few weeks in a segment of organizations that have announced layoffs—is: “executives and managers too often underestimate the importance of clear, consistent communications as part of a reduction in force. Without an effective communications plan that begins well in advance, a layoff or reduction can damage the company’s reputation and the well-being of both dismissed and retained employees.” One section of the article provides a sequence of events that should be coordinated on the day of the announcement. And with the increased utilization of hybrid work, several questions arise regarding how announcements are communicated, such as: can we effectively communicate compassion and sincerity remotely and engage with employees to understand their emotions and concerns? Action steps are provided to best address the added challenge of hybrid work and how to communicate these tough messages while demonstrating compassion.