Consider before you dismiss your employee. If you have to, do it with class. Outplacement.

Consider before you dismiss your employee. If you have to, do it with class. Outplacement.

The long-awaited economic slowdown has become a reality. Our economy has been hit hard by the introduction of restrictions related to COVID19. However, what distinguishes the current crisis from the previous ones is the simultaneous and very clear fall in supply and demand. The freezing of business for the time of quarantine has translated into a significant drop in consumption in Poland, which cannot be rebuilt overnight.

Of course, the crisis does not affect all industries. In some areas a significant increase in turnover was recorded. Hygiene products, disinfectant products, but also computer games or building materials are more popular with consumers. The KEP industry (courier, express, package) has clearly benefited from the current situation. However, this does not change the fact that a large part of the economy has been paralysed.

Despite the best intentions of the employers, many organisations have not managed to avoid job cuts or, at best, salary reductions. When a company faces the ghost of liquidity loss, cost reductions and layoffs seem the natural first step. However, it should be remembered that every crisis ends one day. Sooner or later business conditions will change. Then those who have the appropriate resources and competences will find themselves on the market most quickly.

For this reason, the decision to part with an employee should be well thought out. If, after considering all possible options, there is indeed no other option, it is important to ensure that the dismissal process itself is carried out to the highest standards. We should remember that even such a difficult situation as the necessity to reduce the number of positions is an opportunity to strengthen the image of an honest and socially responsible organisation.

A good name is built up over the years, and losing it can be costly. Employers who have been struggling for years with the problem of acquiring the best employees know all about this. Despite offering competitive employment conditions, candidates are cautious about offers from companies that neglect their image.

How to part with an employee while maintaining a high standard?

First of all, in a socially responsible way.It is worth putting yourself in the position of an employee. Empathy in business is not a luxury, but a necessity. Without it, we would live in a heartless world, like the Thomas Hobbes creations. Losing a job is a difficult experience, especially for people who have been loyal to their employer for many years. The consequence of the termination of an employment contract is not only a loss of livelihood, but above all a loss of security and a shaken sense of self-esteem.

Such people can be provided with a “soft” parting by offering them an outplacement program Providing professional support will make it easier for them to find themselves in a new situation and will relieve strong emotions that are comparable to those experienced during a divorce.Transferring people affected by the dismissal to the care of specialists who understand the mechanisms of the labour market and know how to move around it, is an option worth considering in the common interest of the employee and the organisation.

This approach also positively affects the morale of those who remain in the company. It is a message to them that the employer cares about people and is not insensible to their future. In a situation where the organisation does not have the resources to implement the outplacement process, the absolute minimum is to ensure that the parting process takes place in an atmosphere of empathy and understanding. The dismissal of several dozen employees by e-mail, as was the case with one of the publishers, is an example of risky, ill-considered actions that unnecessarily resonate with the market.

Usually we think of the proverbial “burning of bridges” in the context of an employee who, under the influence of emotions, leaves “slamming the door”. Let us not forget that the same rules apply to employers.

Author: Joanna Wójcik-Garbolinska Senior Project Manager NAJ International