If you’re serious about building an inclusive workplace, it should extend to how you fire people

By Amber Cabral5 minute ReadInclusion, if well executed, touches every part of a corporation, even one that’s most uncomfortable to talk about: layoffs and terminations.In fact, these career transitions are arguably the most critical points in the employee life cycle to embed an inclusive mindset into the culture of your organization. Inclusion essentially means a…

If you’re serious about building an inclusive workplace, it should extend to how you fire people

By Amber Cabral5 minute ReadInclusion, if well executed, touches every part of a corporation, even one that’s most uncomfortable to talk about: layoffs and terminations.In fact, these career transitions are arguably the most critical points in the employee life cycle to embed an inclusive mindset into the culture of your organization. Inclusion essentially means a person feels invited to, comfortable in, and psychologically safe engaging with others in a workplace. It might seem impossible to align inclusion with job loss because the common misconception is that inclusion should feel good or be easy.Inclusion takes effort, thought, and mindful consideration before taking any action. Here are some ways to embed an inclusive mindset around firing and layoffs.Craft messages with empathy and respectAn inclusive organization faced with layoffs or terminations should consider two things before developing their strategy. First, imagine you must lay off or fire your favorite, most beloved family member or friend. How would you approach that? Second, imagine you are being laid off or fired by your favorite, most beloved family member. What might your expectations be?Adopting these perspectives doesn’t make it easier to impact someone’s job adversely, but it does create empathy for the experience. Employers should take deliberate efforts to make sure anyone responsible for firing or laying-off staff have messaging to help them communicate legally and with compassion.Avoid surprising peopleSales are down. The organization is evolving. Business needs have shifted. Performance is not up to par. Tell the real story about what is happening, and equip leaders to tell the story to their teams. If you know the company will suffer job loss, say so. If you know there will be layoffs and when they will start and end, say that. If you know someone is missing the mark on performance, give and document the feedback. Don’t bury difficult news in complex messaging or try to hide that layoffs are coming. Surprise layoffs and firings can cause people to feel unprepared or manipulated.I’ve experienced employers who handled firings and layoffs by sending a meeting invite to an employee who was going to be let go. Word
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