- During huge company transformations – mergers and the like – some employees (often good, solid workers) have to be let go. Pat Wadors, senior vice president of global talent organization at LinkedIn, told Harvard Business Review ways HR managers can help ease these occasionally painful transitions.
- Feedback, communication, allowing people time to process the news and remembering the feelings of the team members of the laid-off are key in maintaining success during these transitional periods.
- Such transitions – and subsequent severances – are particularly common in the tech field, where fast-moving markets call for constant evolution. In order to grow, companies may need “to part ways with collegial, talented employees who just aren’t the right fit anymore,” Wadors writes.
While letting people go, especially good people, is never fun, it is simply a part of growth. “All companies need different kinds of talent at different points in their life cycles,” Wadors writes.
But before you dive into dropping certain employees, be sure to follow these guidelines:
Don’t wait until the end to say what’s working and what hasn’t, Wadors says. Especially during times of transition, teams need honest feedback all along the way – but be sure to balance the bad with the good. “Hearing that they have real gaps, and that you see them, will be difficult enough. You don’t want them to walk away demoralized while there’s still a chance to help them adapt,” he writes.
Talk to your struggling employees in settings beyond the formal sit-down, he suggests. That way, they know that you truly care about them and their development. But if an employee isn’t the right fit, you must let them know. If an employee still hasn’t improved after a clear 60 or 90 day improvement plan, for example, it is time to part ways. Obviously, this plan only works for issues that can be solved in a matter of two or three months, Wadors writes.
“It should come after you’ve had many conversations about development, so no one is in the position of having to acquire brand-new skills with very little warning,” he adds.
Finally, allow good employees to “exit with grace” – it increases the trust in your brand by both former and current employees.