Dichotomy of Hiring & Laying Off

Dichotomy of Hiring & Laying Off

May 2020

Written by: Mike McElherne, Managing Director

Is it right to be hiring when you are laying employees off... in one word YES!  It is not only right, but it is a must, and I will explain why.  One of the most challenging things for an organization is to maintain employee engagement during challenging business environments especially when they are forced to make tough decisions such as laying employees off.

Laying off employees is not an easy process.  It takes careful consideration, immense amount of planning, and must be executed perfectly. I can tell you from experience that when an organization lays people off and needs to make a key hire at the same time, it can be a very challenging situation for employee morale. When a company is dealing with dramatic change, they must work even harder to retain their employees, keep the employee morale up, and continue to push forward to meet organizational goals.  To manage challenging times, an organization has a unique opportunity to gain employee morale and double down on their vision and strategy. 

  1. It is critical that you start from the top and huddle your leadership team together, letting them know the importance of rebuilding and why decisions were made. Gaining leadership understanding about these tough decisions will give the organization an opportunity to be stronger going forward by making them aware that key strategic hires must be part of that equation. It is always difficult when you have to let people go from a company, but the goal is to come out stronger as an organization. We must remember that the why behind the decisions will not be apparent to everyone when they are in the middle of the storm. 
  1. With all the change that is happening, now is also a great time to bring in exceptional talent to your organization. “A” talent is always I demand, and there is great talent available.  It is important to evaluate the team that you have and understand where the gaps are. This will be critical to your success as you plan for key hires to drive your organization forward.  Who stepped up during a crisis?  Who had the greatest impacts?  What has emerged as missing from the team’s capabilities?
  1. Communication and transparency to your organization about your hiring plan is also important.  Letting them know that you will continue to seek top talent for mission-critical roles, as well as those you anticipate bouncing back faster, will be better received.  Also reminding employees about your internal hiring process and employee referral programs will encourage those that may be ready to do something else or more can have an opportunity to apply.  And always, good people know other good people.
  1. Resharing your vision and why you must continue driving forward is critical to the organization's success. This is a great opportunity to paint a picture for employees and give them a chance to align with the future vision ultimately creating a stronger culture.

In conclusion, hiring during a downturn is the right strategic move and it will be essential to your company’s success. Follow the steps above and you will make impactful hires that will build a stronger culture while driving your organization towards a successful future.