One of the critical challenges one faces during lay offs or letting people go, is dealing with the whole SARAH cycle. Shock, Anger, Resistance, Hope and Acceptance. I just had a call from an ex colleague who after a team meeting last week was called into his managers room and asked to leave. He said the conversation was barely five minutes long, with little explanation. We had a long conversation about faith in humanity and how he can learn to trust people after this incident.
In an organization that has good HR practices, it is imperative that there is a “case” that is built up for making anyone redundant. The “case” consists of feedback, rounds of counselling, putting the person on a performance improvement plan and being clear on what goals will be tracked over the next few months. This is done only to set the right expectations and to make sure that no one is taken by complete surprise. It’s a “minimize danger” strategy. Companies like these are keen to let people go the “right” way – pay fair severance, help with outplacement agencies only because they want to be known as an employer that cares. And the message clearly is one of, yes you are competent, but this is probably not the right fit. If it is a situation where the role has been made redundant then the organization makes itself responsible to find the person another role within the same organisations
Very clearly that was not the case with this colleague. Now as a result of this incident, other employees who have heard the story have their error detection sensors up – they keep feeling like they maybe let go in the same way. If companies do not make an effort to build a culture where they minimize danger and maximize reward, it will not just have impact on the talent they are able to attract and retain talent and but, to meet long-term business goals
Kalpana Sinha is a Leadership and Organisation Professional. Her blog has reflections from her work experiences of over 20 years.