Layoffs and an Organization Term Paper

Pages: 6 (2004 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Transportation

Employee Layoffs

An Analysis of what a Human Resources can do to mitigate the Worst Effects of Employee Layoffs in an Organization

It is often the case that organizations in the modern business environment find themselves with tough choices to make. Although every organization typically wants to grow and be successful, in many situations organizations have to downsize their staff to stay competitive relative to the external environment and to meet strategic objectives. When an organization is forced to lay off any percentage of its human resources, this can often significantly decrease the morale of the entire organization. Human resources and an effective human resources strategy can help to mitigate some of the worst consequences of such a situation. This analysis will conduct a literature review to attempt to identify ways that managers can cope with any negative emotions that manifest in the event of an employee layoff, a discussion of a step-by-step dismissal meeting, and an appropriate compensation that can, or should, be awarded to the employee that is being dismissed including a timeline example of how these funds may be dispersed. This analysis will also consider the effects on an organization as a whole that a layoff, or series of layoffs, can have on the state of the morale experienced by the human resources in an organization in general.

Dealing with Negative EmotionsGet full Download Microsoft Word File access
for only $8.97.

Term Paper on Layoffs and an Organization Assignment

There can be many negative emotions associated with a layoff, not only among those being directly laid off, but also among those who are more affected indirectly. Layoffs are associated with a high level of uncertainty relative to the future. A layoff is in a different category than a firing because it is generally conducted for monetary reasons due to the company being perceived as not performing as well financially as it should or could be. When budgets are been constantly scanned for any potential cost savings, there is a threat of job insecurity, unemployment and under-employment all threaten employee well-being and a level of economic stress quickly ensues (Sinclair, et al., 2010). When employees realize that their company is experiencing some form of financial hardship, then this can lead to a fear of the future or a level of uncertainty about the future.

Such a situation can make the contradiction and conflict between employees and employers more defined and exacerbated which can lead to situations of non-cooperative labor (Liu, et al., N.d.). People can be scared of their future in general, and more specifically with the company, and as a result this fear can make it more difficult to perform an employee's duties for a range of different reasons. For example, if you future with a company becomes questionable for whatever reason, it may be difficult for you to devote your time and resources to any form of long-term planning or objectives. If employees lose faith in the company and its ability to stay competitive, then employees might have a more difficult time buying in to the organization's mission, vision, and organizational objectives which can even affect more short-term decision making among the human resources.

Anger is another emotion that can quite possibly present itself in such situations. In many cases employees will devote a significant portion of their lives, both in regards to time and energy, to their jobs. They often feel that their devotion to the organization should offer them some level of job security. However, due to many circumstantial factors, an employee's tenure may not be enough to justify their continued employment in an organization that needs to stay competitive. Yet, from the employee's perspective, the threat of being laid off can generate many feelings of hostility, betrayal, anger, and resentment. It can be difficult to handle such tense situations and it is the job of the human resources professional who has to handle the sensitive situation to do so in an understanding of a manner as possible. A manager might try to distance themselves as much as possible as one method of coping.

This common emotion to a layoff can have many implications to the entire organization and if layoffs are handled in a dehumanizing fashion then this can act to exacerbate the situation on many levels (Murray, 2002). For example, if the employee feels that their termination was handled in a disrespectful manner, then it can not only spark resentment from the employee, but it can also led to negative publicity that affects the company on a broader level. In particular, psychologists find, employees are angered by curtness, surprise announcements, perceived unfairness, dishonesty and public humiliation and such measures are common in organizations to try to prevent the employees' ability for litigation after termination. Therefore, another method in way a manager might cope is to focus on the dismissal in the most professional way possible during the meeting. It can also be prudent for a manager to give early warnings to the employee as a coping mechanism so that there is not a sense of surprise inherent in the dismissal.

For example, if a HR professional says too much as to the motivation behind the termination, or says the wrong thing, then this could be potentially used against them in a court of law in a wrongful termination case. Therefore there is the tendency for organizations to keep the dismissal brief and not divulge too many emotions or display a strong sense of empathy for the individual as a means of avoiding litigations (Murray, 2002). However, at the same time, such actions can enrage an employee and motivate them to get revenge in other ways such as talking to reporters and fueling negative publicity. These responses illustrate just how complex and tense such situations can be. The human resources professional has a fine line to walk in regards to appropriate conduct in a termination.

Step-by-step Dismissal Meeting

Having to fire or layoff an employee can be one of the most difficult aspects to management. It is common for experienced professionals to attempt to distance themselves from the entire process because of the emotional implications that the process may have; furthermore, the situation can also be exacerbated because of the legal requirements that are placed on management and the fear of litigation for wrongful termination (Boitnott, 2015). It is best to have a plan when dealing with a layoff that begins long before the actual dismissal meeting is scheduled. This section will outline a step-by-step outline of what the process might look like based on HR best practices.


The planning phase is arguably the most important aspect to firing someone. There are many different motivations for letting an employee go that range from purely financial reasons to performance reasons. Understanding the exact reasons and circumstances of the dismissal is a key component in the planning stage. For example, if the layoff is due to a performance related issue, then the dismissal should come only after a series of warnings or discussions about the matter were had first. If the layoff is due to a job elimination cause, then the employee should be given as much "fair warning" as possible and the best strategy is to not make the dismissal a surprise to the employee if at all possible (Ashkenas, 2013). The more notice you can give an employee the better.

It is also critical to rehearse the meeting and the motivations behind the termination before the actual meeting begins. In some cases it may be best to talk to the company's lawyer first to ensure that the reasons for the dismissal that are given are appropriate. Furthermore, it is also good to have a strong understanding of the things that should not be said.

During the Meeting

The meeting should be scheduled in a place in which the employee will feel the most comfortable and during a time that makes the most sense. After all preparations are made, then the meeting can be scheduled. At which point, all of the logistical decision should have already been decided such as questions like (Ashkenas, 2013):

1. When is the official end date?

2. Are there severance arrangements?

3. Are there opportunities elsewhere in the company?

4. Is career counseling available?

5. What happens with benefits?

The meeting should focus directly on the fact that it is a dismissal meeting and this should be made clear from the beginning; although this might sound harsh, being clear make the employee understand that there is no room for negotiations (DelPo, N.d.). It is also best to explain the decision in a professional manner. For example, if you are too sympathetic or try to avoid hurting the employee's feelings then this could be counterproductive and possibly make the organization liable. However, it is ok to let the employee vent or present their side if they feel it is appropriate, so long as it's clear that the decision has already been made (DelPo, N.d.). The meeting should also cover what logistical options there are for the employee as well, if there are any, and these should… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

Two Ordering Options:

Which Option Should I Choose?
1.  Buy full paper (6 pages)Download Microsoft Word File

Download the perfectly formatted MS Word file!

- or -

2.  Write a NEW paper for me!✍🏻

We'll follow your exact instructions!
Chat with the writer 24/7.

Organizational Behavior Like the Individuals Term Paper

Organizational Behavior Organization Change: Theory and Practice Research Paper

Organizational Assessment - Qwest (Q: N) Term Paper

Organizational Culture Chapter

Organization Behavior Case Study

View 200+ other related papers  >>

How to Cite "Layoffs and an Organization" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Layoffs and an Organization.  (2015, November 13).  Retrieved January 15, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Layoffs and an Organization."  13 November 2015.  Web.  15 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Layoffs and an Organization."  November 13, 2015.  Accessed January 15, 2021.