How To Support Your Employees During Layoffs

So, how can employers effectively and humanely address layoffs while maintaining the company’s employee-centric reputation even during RIFs?

The Reality of Layoffs and Impact on Reputation

Employers don’t often anticipate the necessity of laying off employees; it’s not a prospect they enjoy. We recently spoke to a CEO who proudly said, “We’ll never lay off our employees!” This CEO’s statement recognizes the fact that employees are valued members of the team, colleagues with shared experiences, and key contributors to the organization’s advancement who have dedicated countless hours to the organization’s success. 

However, market forces and difficult financial circumstances often make layoffs a business necessity. When that time comes, it’s not only possible but crucial to demonstrate empathy and compassion, ensuring a humane experience that acknowledges the contributions of those affected and eases their transition.

No matter what the reason for the Reduction in Force–whether it’s company relocation, a merger or acquisition, financial instability, investor attrition, or simply a need to restructure or rebrand–the way layoffs are handled can significantly impact the company’s reputation and future talent acquisition.

In this interconnected world, information travels swiftly. Employees and the media become aware of impending layoffs almost instantly. Employees caught in the process have endless options to spread the word to others. 

If the layoffs are handled poorly or there are negative experiences during the process, this can quickly tarnish the company’s reputation. A business’ bad reputation can have a lasting impact and make it challenging to attract top talent in the future.

An RIF itself may not damage your company’s reputation, but handling an RIF badly definitely will.

Supporting Affected Employees and Maintaining Morale

Research from Edelman’s 2022 Trust in the Workplace report suggests that employers announcing layoffs need to invest in providing support and assistance to affected employees. Offering resources and assistance in finding new job opportunities outside the organization not only helps displaced employees but also maintains morale and productivity among the remaining workers.

Studies have shown that layoffs can have a significant impact on the morale of the surviving employees, who feel stress, guilt, and a decrease in confidence, which leads to increased voluntary turnover. Therefore, it’s essential that organizations ensure outgoing employees are treated with respect and there is a credible plan in place to support their future endeavors.

Offering job search support as part of employees’ severance packages helps the exiting employee land a job faster, promotes higher morale and productivity among retained employees, AND contributes to long-term talent attraction and retention.

Employers offer benefits to employees upon hiring, thus it makes sense from a business standpoint and financially, to extend that care by offering benefits to employees upon their departure from a job well done.

The Benefits of Outplacement Services

One study showed that laid-off employees who receive outplacement services are re-employed 60% faster than those who don’t receive assistance (International Outplacement Alliance, 2020).

Outplacement severance benefits during RIFs or employee terminations have far-reaching benefits for companies. 

Upword Resume provides custom-tailored outplacement benefit packages for displaced and exiting employees. If you are an organization or business interested in learning more about our simple, hassle-free approach, reach out to our Corporate Partnership Manager, Diane at to schedule a time to talk.