Smile, You’ve Been Laid Off

Ok, not really. But we liked the title.

The Washington Post’s “Leadership House Call” fielded a question today from an HR manager who was demoralized after eight months of layoffs. HR gets demoralized, everyone else at the company gets demoralized, and it just goes downhill from there.

You can minimize the damage, the Cambridge Leadership Associates (who are working on the Post Leadership Housecall project) say, by making layoffs a positive experience.

Wait, what?

Okay, fine: as positive as possible.
“Allocate not only your time and attention, but also whatever transitional support you can offer, such as professional career counseling; temporary office space, phone and computer access; and continuation of some benefits beyond what is legally required. The give-me-the-keys-and-our-security-guard-will-escort-you-to-the-door approach may minimize the risk of any destructive retributive behavior, but it will cost you dearly down the road.”

Then, for the survivors, be nice, be communicative, and believe in the future. The CLA cites the example of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt personally buying 50,000 shares of stock to show he was invested in the future.

This is pretty much a direct counterpoint to what our resident HR expert Sharon Jautz told us last what do you think? Let’s get a point/counterpoint up in here.