I've always been amazed at the dance we do when layoffs become a necessary part of the business. I've worked for some big companies where large employee actions are almost an annual event, as is a hiring freeze towards the end of the budget year.
What's always intrigued me is the level of straight talk you should give employees. The tired movie quote - "You can't handle the truth" - is always a subject of conversation.
Big questions on the communication front with layoffs:
- How do you give straight talk about the business without freaking your employees out?
- Are you willing to say that the weakest employees where asked to leave? (not always the case, but generally that's how it works)
- Why don't we say more often that we did it to make those that remain more secure in their roles at the company?
On my mind based on this article on layoffs at a co-working startup named WeWork:
"WeWork Cos., the world’s largest shared-workspace startup, plans to cut about 7 percent of its staff and has instituted a temporary pause on hiring, according to e-mails obtained by Bloomberg. The cutbacks come just three months after the New York company said it raised a round of $430 million led by Chinese investors.
Managers were instructed to begin dismissals this week, said one of the e-mails. The startup, which lets members rent desks in an open office, ballooned from about 230 employees early last year to more than 1,000 today, according to research firm Mattermark.
WeWork said it hired 175 people in May and expects to add about 500 employees by the end of the year. The company said it expects to lift the pause on hiring as soon as next week.