We have established a reorganization plan for my territory, which means I will be letting two individuals go. But, this will not occur until early September...I have O3's already sceduled for August with these individuals. Three part question: 1) How closely should I manage their progress and apply "encouragement" for completing projects; 2) How should I respond if they ask a question regarding their involvement in any type of future event with the organization; and 3) How do I go about establishing trust with my remaining 5 employees after this event? (Being a newer manager, I'm assuming there will be many questions about the security of their job and what it means to be a "team.") Thanks in advance for any input you may provide.

Peter.westley's picture
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I take it you haven't actually advised them yet?

If you are sure you will be terminating them, let them know NOW!

In my opinion, this is the only ethical thing to do - give them 4 or 5 weeks notice and allow them the flexibility to prepare for their departure (i.e. spend time within reason working on resume or going for interviews.) Or let them leave immmediately if they want to. I think it's unfair that you know they're going to be retrenched and not tell them. They're people and deserve to be told - they will respect you for allowing them the time.

Letting them know now removes all need for pretending they're still part of the company and what might happen around planning for future projects etc.

Think of how you would feel if you found out after being retrenched that the company had known about it for weeks beforehand vs being told, given a long notice period and support for finding a new job.

Yes their effectiveness may diminish but so long as you set clear expectations that they must continue to perform (within reason) during that time if they wish to continue receiving a salary during that period, again, there should not be too much risk for the company.

It's this sort of approach that makes people sing the praises of the company and their manager, even when they've been retrenched.

JD Burkholder's picture

Peter, thank you for your response. I will provide more information on this...we just confirmed this week that we will go ahead with this. But, since we are a virtual team, this means travel to tell the people. To make this happen, we are first looking at the best severance package, and then should we keep them on for an additional 30 days, or immediately terminate them when we have our discussion. This is the reason why the wait...and we want to do this in person, not over the phone, so I will not be able to alert them any sooner.

Planning is part of the managerial process, and we need to have all our ducks in a row before we have these discussions. But, I must continue to manage them until then, and anticipate what the fallout will be with the team, and then how to handle this type of interaction come next month.

Mark's picture
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As a general rule, Peter's right. I understand that you are working through the planning, though, and that's great.

It seems to me, though, that you're really not terminating them, you're laying them off due to a restructuring - unless I've misunderstood. I am not normally one to call a termination a layoff, either.

If that's the case, have you listened to our show on how to lay someone off? I think it will clear up a great deal...


kmorrisonca's picture

I know I am responding to a post from several months ago, but I am involved with this at my workplace too.

One point from the Podcast is we should let our direct know as soon as it is released from Upper Management. In this case, a position is being eliminated according to the fiscal year manpower schedule. But, letting the employee know ahead of time would not be sanctioned by the company. I am, however, going to lobby for "early notification" of a few weeks, something the company has never done. I am not sure how this will go over though.

Also, would anyone know where the other two podcasts on layoffs are located?


Mark's picture
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There are three casts on the late stage coaching model, all in a row, in Dec 05 and Jan 06.

Separately, there is (Oct 23 05) a cast on Compassionate Layoffs.

These are two very different topics, though. One is how to lay someone off (Oct) and the others are about coaching someone who is in danger of being terminated.

Best of luck with the early notice. Make sure you find out before you ask for that what the normal procedure is WITHOUT early notice. You may think you know it, and that's great... but if it's this rigid, my guess is that HR or some other org has something written down. You'll want to know EXACTLY what's in that document to see what leeway the org already allows. (I always find the actual docs and recommendations to be surprisingly different from what other managers "know" and "have seen myself in writing.")