Jared Strong (name has been changed) tried very hard to soften the blow when he had to lay off an employee for financial reasons. Instead of telling her in the cold, hard office, he took her to a restaurant where he imagined the nicer setting and food would lessen the shock. After telling the single mother of two that today was her last day, she slapped him across the face and said, “I can’t believe you made me miss my son’s soccer game for this!” before storming out.

Terminating an employee is never easy, and there are no guarantees that you won’t be slapped, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier on everyone.

To keep reading, click here: Let me down easy

Related Posts

2 thoughts on “Let me down easy

  1. Quite frankly, even though I’m not a single mother, I’d have slapped him too!

    All good advice; but, could I add another? Don’t make this about you!

    Twice during layoffs I’ve had to listen to managers ramble on and on about how hard this is for them, how much this is a part of their job they hate, how they’ve lost sleep over this, yada, yada, yada. (the worst was the guy who announced to the staff after layoffs that this whole thing has been so stressful that he is going on vacation to the Bahamas to relax, he SO needs it after laying people off)

    I so wanted to tell them to shut up – they will still have a paycheck tomorrow, those of us being laid off won’t. So, shut already about YOUR stressful problems.

  2. I detest the “R” words: reorganized, re-engineered, made redundant, right-sized, etc. First, they are all in the passive voice as if the event is an unavoidable Act of God. It isn’t. HR staff and managers who must make the cuts like using these words because they distance the actors from the action. These words also make it seem as if the layoff is part of some grand and distant business strategy that we mere mortals can never comprehend. As an engineer, I particularly dislike “re-engineering” since absolutely no engineering is taking place.

    As a manager, I’ve had to lay people off on a few occasions and fire a small number for cause. It is always difficult to do. Recipients of the bad news seem to appreciate it when I treat them as responsible adults, tell them the bad news, and provide the unvarnished truth why the action is necessary. The employees who remain are also psychologically bruised by layoffs and terminations, and deserve explanations to the extent that is legally possible.

    Thank goodness I’ve never been slapped or verbally abused when I’ve taken these actions. Maybe treating people as adults, presenting the breadth of termination benefits, not making excuses, and conducting oneself with moral courage made a difference. I’ll never know for sure.

Comments are closed.

Are you looking for a new HR job? Or are you trying to hire a new HR person? Either way, hop on over to Evil HR Jobs, and you'll find what you're looking for.