Mass layoffs no easy task: is Blackberry doing it right? – Canadian HR Reporter appearance

In light of the significant workforce reduction that Blackberry is carrying out, Canadian HR Reporter journal contacted Cissy Pau of Clear HR Consulting to discuss best practices for how to conduct mass layoffs well.

Here’s what Cissy Pau had to say about the the right ways and wrong ways of conducting mass layoffs:

Laying off such a large percentage of a workforce is no easy proposition, according to Pau, principal consultant at Clear HR Consulting in Vancouver. … “It’s a terrible situation to be in… It’s a lot of work, it’s a really emotional circumstance,” she said. ….“When we did this, the biggest overall theory was we wanted anybody who left the company to still be a champion for the company going forward. Especially for a company like BlackBerry, where they still have a customer base and they’re still a going concern, you want people that leave to speak as positively as they can about the company and not slag them in the media…. If you (keep) that framework in mind, then it really guides how you do the termination and the preparation you do in all the terminations.”

 As well, Cissy Pau discussed the importance of preparation prior to announcing mass layoffs to staff:

Employees should not be told about mass terminations until the company has all of its ducks in a row, said Pau, adding “it’s a very delicate dance that happens.” If the employer decides to do the layoffs in waves, HR has to consider the severance arrangements, working notice arrangements, group termination notices and continuance of benefits — along with the whole morale issue, she said.

The timing of announcing the mass layoffs to staff is also critical, says Pau:

Pau’s previous company announced the layoffs all at the same time, even though they would be staggered. “We thought, ‘Let’s do it over that time period as opposed to people coming in every day on eggshells thinking, ‘Is today the day?’” she said… The company was also determined to tell each employee one-on-one… “You can imagine the logistics nightmare,” she said.

Conducting mass layoffs is no easy task and requires significant preparation and many considerations to be performed well. For assistance in conducting layoffs at your organization, please contact Clear HR Consulting.

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