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Delivering the bad news

2 min read


Many SmartBrief on Workforce readers are no strangers to one of the least-pleasant sides of management — letting workers go. Nearly 70 percent of you reported having had to handle a layoff in last week’s SmartPulse question. While obviously it’s worst on the people who are losing their jobs, it can also cause managers and HR officials a considerable amount of stress. Here are three tips to help you keep your cool when delivering the bad news:

  • Make sure your decisions were rational. If you feel confident about the business reasons behind your cuts, you’re less likely to feel nagging guilt about them.
  • Make sure you have all the facts. Let-go workers are going to have a lot of questions. What is going to happen to their health insurance? Their pension? Think about what you would want to know if you were in their position and pull that information together before you meet with them. If you have to say “I don’t know” over and over again, you’ll just send everyone’s blood pressure skyrocketing.
  • Appropriately share your anxiety. But do it with someone outside of work. Talk to your spouse, a close friend or your therapist. But keep the venting to colleagues (even other managers) to a minimum.