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How to announce job cuts?

Announcing job cuts is never easy. To avoid making a difficult situation worse, one must show some humanity.

Specialists agree that the act of announcing job cuts must be done as directly and as simultaneously as possible to all of the employees in an organization. It must be done in person using words that answer to the employees’ concerns. Formal discussions are not warranted when it comes to job cuts according to Richard Chénier, HR Consultant with COSE, a personnel management consulting firm. The tone must be personal.

“You must especially avoid distributing a letter that asks the persons involved to pack up their things and leave, advises Mr. Chénier. The other employees will be under the impression that their colleagues are being treated like garbage.”

A manager’s job

Jean-Yves Le Louarn, Professor at the HEC’s Department of Human Resources Management, believes that the responsibility of announcing such bad news lies upon the big boss’ shoulders. If he or she is unable to do it in person, video conferencing is an adequate substitute. “The owner must be the instigator, according to him. This type of situation is generally inhuman, but there are ways that are not as abrupt and please, do not use emailing.”

Mr. Le Louarn believes that a letter or an email must be used to detail the situation after the verbal announcement. “The corporation’s managers and executives must then take their respective staff aside to explain the consequences of the announcement.”