I hate to say this, but I think we’re about ready to hit the second wave of unemployment crisis
as a result of COVID-19. Just last week Disney said they’re laying off combine 28,000 workers from its Disney World
and Disneyland properties.
We saw American and United Airlines also announced that they are effectively furloughing, if not completely letting go, tens of thousands of workers themselves. I think more will follow in the tech industry if you at least read the tea leaves from their earnings reports and other press releases and investor relations communications.
So three things to follow. First, communicate completely about the impending layoffs and furloughs – not just to the people that you’re letting go. Be sure to communicate to those who remain about what their job is what you’re doing to make sure that their
positions, to extent that you can, are preserved and what you’re doing to move forward. They’re going to have as much anxiety as the people you’ve just let go.
Secondly, you got to make sure that your communications to customers, partners, and investors are clear and comprehensive as to what you’re doing to make sure you move forward. They’re going to have anxiety as well, and not just from what you may be saying,
but because they’re also going to see postings from employees. Make sure you’re communicating effectively to those audiences.
Third, don’t stop with one announcement. Make sure that your ongoing conversations continue, that you have an open dialogue, that you stay on message, and that you engage in multi-directional communications. In other words, make sure you’re getting feedback directly from individuals, and make sure you’re facilitating as need be conversations amongst your audiences.
This is going to be a critical time for you to show that you’re taking action, you empathize with not only employees that were affected,
but also the employees that remain as well as the customers, partners, and investors that may be a little anxious. Showcase some action that you’re taking to make sure that, to the best of your ability, you’re taking care of everybody.
If you do, the chances of negative impact on your reputation and to future revenues is at least mitigated, if not preserved. If you don’t do it, you may find that the layoffs you just enacted won’t be enough.