Office Politics 101: I have to lay someone off!

Do nothing until you have investigated the entire matter by speaking with your manager and the HR department.

Q: My divisional manager has asked me to lay off an employee as our company’s sales and profits have been lower than expected. I think everyone in the department is valuable, so I don’t know what to do. It seems unfair. Your suggestions?

A: Layoffs can sometimes be a reality for many companies, especially if there are seasonal cycles or unanticipated issues, such as increased competition or declining markets.

Unfortunately, however, layoffs occasionally may be an over-simplistic response to financial pressures. Management might see employees as a significant expense, so layoffs are attractive for a quick fix.

The implementation of layoffs — and the communication with selected employees — is delegated to supervisors (like you) and management, in many cases, is shielded from the resulting tension and despondency.

Apart from the obvious requirement to have work distributed to others, morale can also suffer as employees — especially those performing similar functions —  may believe they also could be vulnerable.

(I will assume you do not work in a unionized office as the collective agreement would govern the layoff process and you would be obliged to follow a set of prescribed procedures.)

I’d recommend you do nothing until you have investigated the entire matter by speaking with your manager, the HR department — if you have one — and even through informal conversation with colleagues.

You may learn your department has been selected arbitrarily to be downsized or perhaps someone has recommended you because you have a nice personality and won’t be expected to protest.

On the assumption your departmental layoff is one of many company-wide you can still make a case for retaining everyone. Prepare a report explaining why a layoff would not be in the best interests of the company and submit it to your boss as soon as possible.

If the appeal is unsuccessful, you should now consider the reality of the requested layoff which will require sensitivity and tact.  Ideally, it may be best to select the most junior employee although this may not be practical.

Ensure you have all the necessary HR documents and arrange a private meeting with the employee you’ve selected.  Be firm and do not indicate you are willing to negotiate by reducing his or her pay or offering a reduced workweek, for example.

Laying off a valued employee will be stressful for you; it will, however, be even more stressful for the employee; Your clear explanation of the situation and the fact the decision is in no way related to his or her performance will go a long way in providing emotional comfort at this time.

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simongibson@shaw.ca

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

A message from the North Island’s 2019 Tour de Rock rider

“Please join me in my endeavour to raise awareness and money for paediatric cancer research”

Council agrees to draft memorandum of understanding with North Island Seniors Housing Foundation

A memorandum of understanding between the district and the NISHF is a prerequisite for funding.

VIDEO: Pride flag unveiled at North Island College in Port Hardy

Festivities included a barbecue, cupcakes, buttons, and rainbows flags for people to wave proudly.

Loggers Golf Tournament returns to the links at Seven Hills Golf and Country Club

The North Island Logger’s Golf Tournament has been running for over 30 years.

Port Hardy Mayor gives an update on the much anticipated multiplex project

Port Hardy’s much anticipated multiplex project is still on hold, with no… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

RCMP deploys special unit in Comox Valley to combat organized crime

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit spends four days targeting organized crime in Courtenay

B.C. imposes interim moratorium on resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

Students disciplined after anti-LGBTQ signs posted in Kamloops high school

Vessy Mochikas, SD73’s principal for inclusive education, called incident a learning opportunity

Air Canada expects Boeing 737 Max to resume flying by September or October

Air Canada isn’t worried about safety of the planes, says vice-president

‘The Fonz’ gives thumbs up in letter to dyslexic students at B.C. school

Students in Maple Ridge reached out to Henry Winkler after reading one his Zipster books.

PHOTOS: MP Mark Warawa loses brief battle with cancer

The Conservative Member of Parliament and long-time community advocate died in hospice this morning

Chinook fishery not ‘closed’ in area is message from guides

Conservative MP holds town halls on Vancouver Island to hear stakeholders’ concerns

Most Read