The goal of a dismissal meeting is to give notice an Employee that she or he is being separated in a dignified and respectful fashion. Notifying employees that they are about to lose their jobs is a stressful and difficult task for any manager. For this meeting to work seamlessly, careful planning and preparations are needed. This paper discusses the dismissal meeting for a fictitious company. Specifically, the paper offers a discussion of ways for managers to cope with negative emotion during layoffs, the process of conducting the dismissal meeting, compensation to separated employees, timelines for the compensations, and a discussion of the effect of layoffs on a firm.
Ways of Coping with Negative Emotions
Managers set the tone on how other members of the institution will react to an employee layoff. Similarly, the employee lay-off process is can have adverse effect on managers including health problems, emotional exhaustion, intent to quit, feelings of depersonalization, and sleep problems (Grunberg, Moore, & Greenberg, 2006). This is because the individual being laid-off may not be just an employee to manager but a long-time acquaintance or friend. This relationship makes the dismissal process uncomfortable and very painful to the major. Therefore, it is vital for the manager to find effect ways of dealing with the negative emotions that are associated with this process.
A significant strategy that can help a manager to cope with negative emotions that accompany an employee layoff entails establishing a systematic and fair process of arriving at layoff decisions. Making the layoff process procedurally just helps managers to eliminate blaming and hostile attitudes. For instance, managers can design object ways of determining the employee that will be laid off such the use of objective performance appraisal results and an objective assessment of employees’ current and potential capabilities (Chia-Jung, 2012). The dismissal process should also collectivize the process of selecting the employee to be laid-off. This strategy will not only help the manager to deal with negative emotions but will also have a positive implication of the morale of the rest of the organizational members.
A manager can also manage negative emotions by sharing his or her experiences with other managers involved in the process, close family members, and friends (Grunberg, Moore, & Greenberg, 2006). The dismissal process can lead to the development of depersonalized feelings among managers. Depersonalization, in turn, makes the manager to distance themselves from other people. A manager can overcome this adverse effect by sharing his feelings and experiences with others. The manager will receive encouragement and support from others when they decide to share their experiences. Managers can also cope with negative emotional feeling by resorting to hobbies and spiritual activities.
The third strategy entails helping the laid-off employee to deal with his or her situation. Managers experience negative emotions during layoffs because they feel guilty and responsible for the suffering of the laid-off employees. Therefore, the negative emotions can be minimized by assisting the laid-off workers to deal with their situations (Chia-Jung, 2012). A manager can provide advice to the laid-off employee on how to find another job and how the deal with psychological consequences of losing the job. The manager can also help the laid-off employees to get jobs by connecting them with hiring companies or recommending them to other organizations. The manager can also advocate for the preparation of an adequate compensation plan that will cater for the needs of the laid-off employees before this employee can get another job.
Process of Conducting the Dismissal Meeting
- Pre-meeting preparation
The first step in conducting the dismissal meeting is the pre-meeting preparation. The manager in charge of the meeting needs to make adequate preparation for the meeting. These preparations include familiarizing oneself with the circumstances that have necessitated the downsizing exercise, preparing a guide that ensure all information is delivered to employees, and identify actions to recommend to affected employees (Lieber, 2009). The manager also needs to select the venue of the meeting, time, and dates of the meeting. The manager should also anticipate questions and have answers to these questions.
- The notification meeting
The actual dismissal meeting should provide concise and simple explanation about the decision to terminate the employment relationship. The meeting can encompass the following steps:
- Summon the affected employee
The first step is to summon the affected employee to a meeting. In case the dismissal process involves many employees, each employee should be summoned individually (Cropanzano, Bowen, & Gilliland, 2007). It is advisable for the manager to have someone else in the meeting during the notification.
- Inform the employee about the dismissal
The manager should elucidate the challenges that the organization is experiencing and the firm’s decision to lay-off employees. The manager should be brief and direct. However, he or she should ensure that the information is delivered in a sensitive, respectful and humane way. The manager ought to come clear that the decision made by the company is final (Lieber, 2009). Dismissal meeting is not the time to discuss with employees about alternative ways of helping the organization. Such a discussion will only make the process difficult. The manager should prepare for varied reactions from the employees.
Some employees may want to plead or bargain to stay in the organization while other may want to speak with decision-makers. Other employees may ask why they were targeted during the exercise (Cropanzano, Bowen, & Gilliland, 2007). The manager should also clarify the criteria used to select employees who are to be laid-off. Some employees may also threaten to sue the company, get upset with the manager, argue about the incapability of person’s being retained or go into shock. Therefore, it is advisable to have the medics’ telephone number ready.
- Explain the dismissal compensation and benefits
The manager should give details of the compensation and benefits that the separated employee is entitled to receive during the meeting. Present the release form to the employee if he or she is willing to sign. It is advisable to have the employees’ termination check ready (Gonsburg, 2010). Presenting the check at this point will aid in releasing tension. The manager should also explain to the employee about his or her eligibility to unemployment insurance benefits. Failing to provide the separated employees with this information exposes the firm to law-suits.
- Explain reference policy
The manager should explain to the employee about the organization reference policy. Let the employee know that the company is ready to give her or him a reference. It is important to have the service letter ready for employees who are interested in getting them. Where applicable, tell the employees of prospective job opportunity and recommend them to employers.
- Collect company property
The final step entails collecting any property that belongs to the company from the employees. Company property may include job identification cards, security passes, uniforms, badges, company vehicles, laptops, office keys, and many others (Cropanzano, Bowen, & Gilliland, 2007). The manager should also allow the employee to collect his belonging and bid farewell to colleagues. Refer the employee to the company’s counselor. It is important to document the termination meeting noting all comments made by the employee.
- Post-notification meeting
It is essential for the manager to conduct a follow-up after the notification meeting. The follow-up should focus on assessing how the employee is coping with the news, and providing any information that was not provided during the notification meeting (Ginsburg, 2010). The manager should be aware of the employee state of mind.
Compensation for the Separated Employee
The company will provide a number of benefits to the separated employee. The first benefit is the separation or severance pay. The severance pay will be a one-off, lump-sum payment that will be calculated using a number of criteria including the employee’s position in the company, former salary, and the number of years working for the organization. Severance pay helps the employee to get-by during the period that they remain unemployed. For the employer, severance pay helps to create good will with separated, remaining and future employees (Lieber, 2009). Companies also use this pay to minimize the risk of lawsuits. The severance benefit will be paid in a lump sum so as to make the pay meaningful to employees who may want to consider self-employment. The company will also give the separated employee a vacation pay, in addition to the severance pay. The vacation pay is to help the employee deal with the emotional and psychological effect of losing his or her job. The company will not restrict the use of this money but will advise the separated employee to use it for recreation.
The company will also offer the separated employee a continuation of health insurance benefits at the company’s costs for an additional six months. This means that the separated employees and their dependants will continue to enjoy health coverage at the employer’s cost for an additional six months. The employees will have the option of continuing with the health insurance scheme at the own cost after the six-month period. The firm has a legal obligation to provide this option (Cropanzano, Bowen, & Gilliland, 2007). In addition, separated employees will remain entitled to any profit-sharing benefits or pension for which they have vested interest under the terms of the plan.
Timeline for the Disbursement of the Compensation
Paid lump sum on acceptance of the release
Lump sum, on the signing of the release form
Company sponsored health benefit
The next six months
Vested pension and profit-sharing benefits
Effect of Layoff on the Company
Layoffs affect firms in a myriad ways. First, layoffs can have an adverse effect on the productivity of employees. Lay-off creates a sense of insecurity among the remaining employees. Remaining employees remain anxious that they may be the next targets for the lay-off process. This anxiety has a striking effect on the morale and effectiveness of the workforce. Low morale leads to impaired productivity (Lieber, 2009). Similarly, lay-offs can affect the productivity of employees by affecting their level of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Employees have a high chance of developing a sense of dissatisfaction with their occupations when they witness their fellow employee being dismissed. Similarly, the action of dismissing the employees may leave the remaining employee with a lot of workload leading to job dissatisfaction. Job dissatisfaction, in turn, leads to impaired productivity. Job dissatisfaction also has an effect on the employee organizational commitment. Consequently, employees are likely to leave the organization whenever they are presented with new opportunities. This phenomenon may lead to high employee turnover, which has an adverse effect on productivity.
Layoff can also have an adverse effect on the image of the company. Layoffs expose firms to a lot of publicity (Ginsburg, 2010). Therefore, firms that do not conduct this exercise in a respectful and lawful manner are likely to expose themselves to negative publicity and scrutiny. Negative publicity has a deconstructive consequence on the market position of the firm as customers are likely to shun the product of firms’ that have a bad reputation.
Layoffs can also have adverse financial implications on the firm. Layoffs can have a harmful effect on the firm’s finances by affecting the firm’s productivity. Impaired productivity affects the profitability of the firm, which has a negative consequence on the financial position of the organization (Lieber, 2009). Similarly, layoff can expose organizations to lawsuits when these exercises are not executed in a lawful fashion. Lawsuits have a negative effect on the company’s finances as the company has to spend on legal fees, fines, awards, and penalties (Cropanzano, Bowen, & Gilliland, 2007). In addition, companies that do things wrong during layoffs have to spend substantial amounts of money in repairing their image among the public.
Layoffs cause emotional strain, not just on the separated employees, but also on the managers responsible for this process. It is important for managers to find suitable approaches of dealing with negative emotions as their reactions to this process will determine the reaction of the other members of the organization. Managers can deal with negative emotions by establishing just dismissal procedures, sharing their experiences, and providing assistance to the separated employees. The dismissal meeting should follow a systematic process so as to ensure a seamless transition within the organization. This process should involve steps such as pre-notification planning, summoning of the affected employees, informing the employee about the dismissal, explaining compensation, explaining reference policies, collecting company property and post-notification follow-ups. Layoffs can have adverse consequences on the organization when not executed in a prudent fashion. These effects include impaired productivity, distorted company image, and adverse financial implications.
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Cropanzano, R., Bowen, D., & Gilliland, S., (2007). The management of organizational justice. Academy of Management Perspectives. 2 (1), 34- 48
Ginsbug, J. (2010). Layoffs and alternative to layoffs. Retrieved from https://www. u/Pubs/E-project/Available/E-project-121410-110cted/Layoffs_4.3.pdf
Grunberg, L., Moore, S. & Greenberg, E. (2006). Manager’s reaction to layoffs: Link to health problems and withdrawal habits. Human Resource Management. 45 (2), 159- 178
Lieber, L. (2009). Managing terminations and layoffs in a recession. Employee Relations. 36 (1), 95- 102
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