Skip to main content
All CollectionsCoaching & Guidance
Addressing Team Member Layoffs and Team Reductions
Addressing Team Member Layoffs and Team Reductions

Losing valuable team members can be a traumatic experience for your team. Follow these tips to make the best of a bad situation.

Stephen Franklin avatar
Written by Stephen Franklin
Updated over a week ago

When members of your team have been let go from the organization or the team has been required to reduce its numbers, it's important to handle the situation in a way that is professional, transparent, and supportive. Following these steps will give your team the best opportunity to process their new situation quickly and move forward in a constructive manner:

Tip: Before addressing the situation with your team, consult with your manager and HR Representative to ensure you are following the organization's standard operating procedures and guidelines.

1. Choose an appropriate time and place to have the conversation.

This should be a quiet and private location where the team can focus on the conversation and express their thoughts and feelings freely.

2. Be transparent and honest.

Be clear and direct about what has happened, and provide as much information as you can. Avoid sugarcoating the situation or providing false hope.

3. Be empathetic and supportive.

Recognize that the news may be difficult for the team to hear, and be prepared to listen to their thoughts and concerns. Offer support and resources to help the team through this difficult time.

Tip: There will likely be a variety of reactions across the individual team members as they initially process the bad news. Prepare yourself for all types of reactions and remember that it is your responsibility as their leader to guide the team through the trauma. If any team members "cross the line" into inappropriate behavior, respectfully request a private conversation away from the team and calmly explain how their reaction will not be tolerated, even under such circumstances. Attempt to stabilize the team member so that the team can come together again and process the news together as a group.

4. Communicate the next steps.

Provide clear and specific information about what will happen next, and how the team will adapt, the best it can, to the new circumstances.

5. Follow up and provide ongoing support.

After delivering the news, check in with the team regularly to see how they are doing, and provide support and guidance as needed.

Tip: Over the following days and weeks, as team members' initial heightened emotional states decline, do not mistakenly assume that this means that your team has properly processed the bad news. Add a recurring topic to your team meetings to discuss and address any persisting effects to ensure your team is moving forward, as effectively as possible, without ongoing, lingering consequences.

By following these steps, you can help ensure that the team receives the news in a way that is respectful, transparent, and supportive and allows the team productively continue forward in their mission and objectives.

Did this answer your question?