We have all heard how our perspective can shape our emotions and thoughts – for both the better and the worse. When it comes to a layoff, the perception from all sides of the table can be one of negativity and worry. But does it have to be this way? There are many reasons why employers may choose to layoff all or a portion of their workforce, with some being more clear cut than others.

When a company needs to make the difficult decision to reduce their workforce, there may be an endless list as to why. Below are some of the top reasons:

  • Declining Business: if the business is no longer generating enough revenue to sustain its current workforce, they may choose to reduce their headcount based on the needs of the business.
  • Merger or Buyout: when two or more businesses join, or merge, together, there are going to be positions that are redundant. Companies may choose to layoff certain portions of the workforce as a result.
  • Transition in Business Focus: it is common for businesses to change their focus or direction, resulting in positions that aligned with the old strategy to be eliminated.
  • Relocation of Office: when a business decides to relocate, some employees are offered the opportunity to transition to the new location and some may be laid off in the process.

Of course there are other scenarios that are not as clear cut and/or as ethical as these, however that is a story for another blog post. These four reasons, however, are some of the top reasons why employers choose to layoff part or all of their workforce. So how do we change our perspectives when the time comes to make difficult decisions?

It starts with thinking of the long term. If your company has seen a steady decline in business with an outlook that doesn’t seem much better, it might be time to make the difficult decision to layoff a portion of the workforce to protect the majority of the business and the employees who remain. In this situation, focusing on the long term and remembering the why behind the decision is crucial in ensuring those who stay remain motivated and focused. Making this choice also helps to protect the business in the long run and the jobs of the employees who remain.
It’s also important to remember that, those who do remain, are the future of the business, and it is important to take care of them during this difficult time. Managers and Executives can achieve this in a variety of ways, following are several ways you can start:

  • Be transparent with what is happening. Make sure those who are staying know they are staying and what the plan will be moving forward.
  • Explain the reasoning for the layoffs to the remaining employees in the same way you explained it to those who were impacted. Be ready and willing to answer any questions they may have about what is happening and why.
  • Explain how you are helping their former coworkers find jobs and the support you are providing them as they transition to their next careers.
  • Allow time to grieve, and then switch the focus toward the future and moving forward. Focus on what the goals will be moving forward and how you plan on achieving them.

Layoffs are never easy, regardless of if you are the one delivering the message or the one receiving it. Changing your perspective on the situation can help you manage the emotions and mindset throughout the process. Focusing on the why and the long term are key in keeping a positive attitude while your company goes through these difficult times.

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