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6 tips for conducting virtual layoffs effectively, with compassion

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July 18, 2023
By Talent Canada

In new-look workplaces, the main challenge is that most managers and leaders haven't been properly trained to manage a workforce remotely.  (MoiraM/Adobe Stock)

During virtual layoffs, it’s important to approach the process with professionalism, empathy, and efficiency.

First30, an Ontario-based company that specializes in onboarding, retention and outplacement, recently shared the six recommendations it makes to clients:

Maintain your camera presence: Keeping your camera on during this conversation helps maintain a personal connection and shows respect for the individual being affected.

Signal what’s coming: Ensure that your employee is aware that challenging news will be communicated. There may be others, such as children, in the background who could overhear the conversation. Providing them with an opportunity to create a private and quiet environment is essential.


Opt for one-on-one meetings: Conduct the layoff meetings individually to provide personalized attention and support. Depending on the scope of the layoff, this may mean hiring external consults to help, and/or running the discussions over a number of days.

Allocate sufficient time: Schedule an appropriate amount of time for the meeting to allow for questions, discussions, and exploration of potential support options.

Share Employee Assistance Program (EAP) information: If your company has an EAP in place, have the relevant details readily available during the layoff conversation. Additionally, send an email to the employee afterward with this information for easy access.

Offer follow-up availability: Recognize that stress can affect memory retention, so make yourself available for follow-up questions. Being responsive and supportive during this period is crucial.

“Following these guidelines will help ensure virtual layoffs are handled professionally, with compassion and support for our employees,” it said. “We also recommend providing employees with outplacement support.”

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