by Ashley Mason | February 2, 2023


During a time when well-known companies are laying off thousands of employees at once — such as Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, and more — it’s crucial to handle any layoffs at your company respectfully to prevent further damage and difficult situations from occurring. What’s one way not to lay your employees off? Follow suit like Google and Coinbase, whose former employees found out they were laid off when they were no longer able to access their work emails and software and received an email sent to a personal email address.

To handle your company with dignity and keep humanity in the workforce, just like MomUp’s mission, be sure to set these processes in place to respectfully lay off employees in your organization, if the time comes.

How to Respectfully Lay Off Employees
Give the News from the Manager

No employee should receive the news that they’re being laid off via email, especially when it comes to employees who have worked for the company for several years. If there’s any way to make an employee feel unvalued, it’s that! Out of courtesy, make it the managers’ responsibility to deliver the news to the employees personally and in a private location, giving them the space they need. After this conversation, give the employees some time to process the news and ask questions before immediately terminating their position to ensure they feel heard and valued.

Be Open with Communication

Breezing over the situation — or worse, lying about the situation — is an easy way to lose trust and have disgruntled employees. Be honest about the circumstances that made the layoff inevitable to ensure the employees realize this didn’t happen because of their own actions. If possible, show them the numbers that explain why this tough decision had to be made, whether it’s through financial statements or other information. The last thing to do is make it seem like you absolutely had to lay off your employees when you didn’t. Honesty goes a long way!

Provide Support to the Employees

As these employees transition out of their former positions, be there to provide support to them, even once their role officially ends. You can do that by:

  • Writing a recommendation letter
  • Helping them with their resume, if needed
  • Connecting with them on LinkedIn, if you haven’t already
  • Introducing them to contacts in your network for potential leads
  • Sharing open positions you find at other organizations
  • Offering a separation package to support them financially until they find a new role

By finding ways that you can help them during this difficult time, you’re showing them that you view them as a human being, not just a number at your company.

In addition to supporting the employees who have been laid off, it’s critical to support the employees that haven’t, as they’ll likely be worrying that they’ll be laid off next. Address each concern and be transparent about the goals of the company, as well as how their roles may change, to put their minds at ease. Retaining your current employees is crucial as you move forward with stabilizing the company, preventing future problems from starting.

Encourage the CEO to Be Visible

Having a “silent CEO” during the midst of a mass layoff doesn’t bode well for all who are involved or are watching from the sidelines. Before the layoffs begin, the CEO’s role is to coach the managers on best practices for delivering the news to their team to set them up for success and ensure the situation is handled appropriately. Additionally, the CEO personally delivering a message in regards to the layoffs will make a powerful impact and show that this decision wasn’t made lightly. Having the CEO take a pay cut may be an option as well, which especially proves the severity of the situation.

Managing the Aftermath of Layoffs
Coming Out on the Other Side

It’s clear that layoffs are never easy, but being strategic with how they’re handled can prevent additional issues from happening, such as the employees bad-mouthing the company. Continuing to move forward and prioritize the employees who are still with the company is key for bouncing back after a tough situation. As long as you handle the layoffs with respect, you’ll be able to minimize future damage.

Were you recently laid off from your employer? Learn how MomUp can help you.