A year ago we went through a low-point financially and had to let go of several valued team members. Thankfully this year, we’re moving into more positive territory, but my hope is that we never have to walk down that road again. We didn’t do the downsizing process perfect, but below are the values we tried to live out:
Be generous – offer as much as you can, including as many weeks of severance as possible, job placement assistance, and health benefits. I was appreciative that our Board of Directors released resources to help our people.
Be personal – do it yourself. I tried to have as many of the layoff conversations myself. If we had 2 conversations going on at once, our HR director led the other meeting.
Be thoughtful – a week after layoffs, we had each team take the person who lost their job to lunch so they had time to celebrate their contributions.
Be helpful – try to make connections or referrals with people in your church who might be looking for good employees.
Be upfront – as soon as we knew we might have to do layoffs, we let our staff know our financial situation. It put people on edge, but at least it minimized surprise.
Be available – our lead pastor and I made sure we were in our offices the afternoon after layoffs so that remaining staff could stop by to ask questions or process what they were thinking.
Be quick – once we knew we were doing layoffs, we tried to move as quick as we could to reach decisions and meet with affected staff. We met with each person that was losing their job within the span of 3 hrs. Then we pulled our remaining staff together to let them know layoffs were over.
My prayer is that you’ll never have to tap into these values, but they helped guide us during a challenging season.