Nobody ever wants to do layoffs. Laying your employees off is one of the hardest things you do as a leader.
But remember, however badly you feel about it, your issues are small compared to those of the impacted employees. For them, the layoff may cause serious financial and psychological distress.
It will also force them into a wrenching emotional disconnect from their friends and colleagues. You think you have it tough, but they have it far tougher.
Your duty as a leader is to do everything in your power to give them as many resources as you can and offer them the most dignified exit possible. This will take careful thought and planning, and it may be the most important planning you ever do.
Andreessen Horowitz’s David Ulevitch recently shared some advice on planning and managing layoffs on their corporate blog.
“I’ve unfortunately had to do layoffs, and helped others through them, so I want to share some best practices and things to think through as you do a layoff. I’m starting from the point that you’ve already done everything possible to avoid a layoff and you’ve gone through the difficult process of figuring out what roles to eliminate”, Ulevitch writes.
Ulevitch is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz where he focuses on enterprise and SaaS investments. He was previously the founder and CEO of OpenDNS, a cloud-delivered security service that was acquired by Cisco in 2015.
“Properly executing a layoff is important in a few dimensions: legally, culturally, and ethically. How you handle a layoff, how you communicate it to the people impacted, and how you manage and lead throughout the process really matters”.
Ulevitch continues, “It matters to the people who are now leaving the business, and it matters to the team that is part of the go-forward plan, and neither group will forget how people were treated”.
Read the complete piece here but note that Ulevitch is not a lawyer. You must consult experienced counsel and HR professionals in this process.