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3 Qualities of Effective Layoff Conversations

Posted on May 21st 2019


3 Qualities of Effective Layoff Conversations

Employee layoffs are incredibly difficult for everyone involved. Breaking the news to loyal staff can result in high emotions and a lot of questions.

Here are 3 qualities to take with you into these discussions to ensure they go as smoothly as possible.


It’s easy to want to be vague about the reasons an employee is being laid off. But indirect and shallow explanations only lead to confusion, questions, frustrations, and hurt feelings. Be as direct as possible to eliminate any uncertainty in why the layoff is happening, as well as what your employee should expect from the organization in the change.


Business owners and managers know better than most that even if the dollars are ultimately making the decision, a layoff feels incredibly personal to the employee being let go. Tactful delivery of bad news can go a long way in helping your people through an often surprising and difficult transition.


Be prepared for an influx of questions. Some you’ll be able to answer. Others you won’t. Don’t lose your patience in the process. Laying off an employee is no doubt a difficult task for the person responsible. Avoid rushing to end your own discomfort by cutting the conversation short or leaving questions in the air.