How to Handle Layoffs and Letting People Go

Layoffs are never easy, but they are sometimes necessary. As an HR professional, it is your job to handle layoffs in a professional and compassionate way. Here are some tips on how to do so:

  1. Be prepared. Before you meet with the employee, make sure you have all of the information you need, such as the severance package, outplacement services, and unemployment benefits.
  2. Be direct and honest. Don’t beat around the bush or try to sugarcoat the situation. Tell the employee that they are being laid off and why.
  3. Be respectful. Remember that the employee is likely feeling a lot of emotions, such as shock, anger, and sadness. Be respectful of their feelings and allow them to express themselves.
  4. Answer questions. The employee may have a lot of questions about the layoff, such as what will happen to their benefits or when their last day will be. Be prepared to answer their questions honestly and thoroughly.
  5. Offer support. Let the employee know that you are there to support them during this difficult time. Offer them resources, such as outplacement services or counseling.

What to Say to an Employee Who Is Being Laid Off

Here are some examples of what you could say to an employee who is being laid off:

  • “I’m sorry to inform you that your position is being eliminated. This was a difficult decision, and it was not made lightly.”
  • “I know this is a difficult time for you, and I want to offer my support. We have a number of resources available to help you during this transition.”
  • “I appreciate your hard work and dedication over the years. You have been a valuable member of our team, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.”

Outplacement Services

Outplacement services can be a valuable resource for employees who are being laid off. These services can provide help with resume writing, interviewing skills, and job search strategies. They can also offer counseling and support to help employees cope with the emotional challenges of being laid off.

How Outplacement Firms Can Help

Outplacement firms can help in the transition to a new job in a number of ways:

  • They can provide career counseling and coaching to help employees identify their skills and interests and develop a job search strategy.
  • They can help employees with resume writing and interview skills.
  • They can provide access to job boards and other resources to help employees find new jobs.
  • They can offer support and guidance to help employees cope with the emotional challenges of being laid off.


Layoffs are never easy, but they can be made easier with the help of an HR professional who is prepared and compassionate. By following these tips, you can help employees through this difficult time and give them hope for the future.