On Wednesday, the CEO of CNN, Chris Licht, sent a memo to the company's staff, informing them that layoffs had begun. The following day, anyone who is losing their job will be told.
Layoffs have affected many different businesses over the past few months. Different tactics have been used by employers. By denying employees access to their laptops for work, Elon Musk cut the Twitter crew in half. The creators of the payments network Stripe wrote a thorough document describing their plan for helping the staff members they would be firing.
Regarding Licht's choice to give warning of layoffs, two human resources specialists told Insider that the move exhibited compassion and openness. According to another analyst, the news was an unneeded source of worry.
Their different responses imply that there may not be an ideal approach to informing employees that you are firing them. Even if this is a business issue, you should remember that you are dealing with individuals and their livelihoods while choosing your strategy.
Giving employees warning of layoffs allows them to prepare mentally.
According to Claire Atkinson of Insider, CNN employs 3,000 people in the US and has already let go of hundreds of employees in recent months.
The layoffs are part of Warner Bros. Discovery's efforts to reduce expenses.
CEO Chris Licht referred to the layoff procedure as a "gut punch" in the memo. He promised to follow up with more information after informing the affected employees of their terminations. Anyone eligible for a bonus in 2022 would still receive one, and laid-off employees would receive information on severance.
Jaime Klein, the CEO of the human resources advisory firm Inspire HR, stated that she believes that giving employees warning of impending layoffs is helpful. She continued, saying that it provides them a chance to "emotionally prepare" for the potential of losing their job, and "even if they are not personally affected by the layoff, they can be aware to be more sympathetic to and helpful to the afflicted employees."
The notice "gives individuals an opportunity to let things settle in," according to Jason Averbook, CEO of the HR consulting firm Leapgen, and "allows them to contemplate how a layoff would affect them." He continued, "That's very, really essential," since it demonstrates that management is quite open with staff and has some sympathy for them.
However, the memo made no mention of which departments would be affected, only that a "small number of people" would be let go. This was a mistake, according to Ayesha Whyte, an employment lawyer, and HR professional at the Virginia law firm Dixon Whyte.
"Simply make it narrower so that some people can breathe," she advised. "This is making me anxious," she continued.
Employers ought to think about how their method of handling layoffs may influence their reputation.
Whyte warned CNN that keeping everyone in suspense for a day would not be a good idea.
She claimed that even those who manage to preserve their jobs would "remember this emotion that now everybody feels." Whyte continued that when those people are contacted by a different company, they will reflect on the anxiety that CNN's revelation brought them and consider: "When it comes down to it, I can see that you'll be watching CNN. So maybe I should start protecting myself."
In contrast, Averbook called Licht's memo "extremely sympathetic." And when layoffs are carried out sympathetically, he added, "it's much, much easier to recover from." It helps to leave a positive impression if you ever want to rehire some of the people you're letting go.
According to Everbook, businesses that engage in mass layoffs often want 25% to 50% of those workers to return within a year. Therefore, how the layoff is handled can influence whether they return.
Averbook continued, "Really, layoffs done well are a blend of economics and humanity."