Dismissal is hard enough – don’t make it inhuman

The hardest thing I’ve had to do professionally was to make people redundant. It can be easy to forget how much harder it is for the person going.

If it’s unavoidable (and I’ve resigned over being asked to do it when I believed it was entirely avoidable), then make sure you stay human as you do it.

You’ll find (and get) a stack of “good practice” and compliance requirements from your HR department or advisors on what you need to do and say when you let someone go. Some of it is probably useful! But for me, the overriding requirement is to stay human. Meaning:

– Clearly explain why. It’s bad enough to lose your job without understanding why.
– Give them time to absorb the shock. You’ve been planning, agonising and discussing the sacking / redundancy for weeks: but they’ve only just found out.
– Empathise, but don’t pretend you’re all in the same boat. Your income is secure, theirs now isn’t. Don’t turn into a psychiatrist – that’s not your role – but do understand that they’re somewhere completely different from you, and probably aren’t absorbing it at the same pace as you’re saying it.
– Unless it’s gross misconduct, be as generous with the package as you reasonably can. They’ve given you time and effort in good faith, and if you can help them with finding work, interview skills, then do so.

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