Situation: A company missed production milestones and had to reduce top and line staff by 20% to keep salaries in line with expected revenue. An executive who was very angry about being let go has asked the CEO to meet him for lunch. How do you manage communications with employees post-riff?
Advice from the CEOs:
- If you haven’t already, call a company meeting to explain the situation, as well as the rationale for the riff. The company has to manage itself financially in line with current and expected future revenue to assure that it can take care of employees. Explain the connection between production milestones, revenue, and the company’s ability to afford staff. Employees generally understand these connections and will accept this well.
- When you have lunch with the executive, first listen to what he has to say.
- Anger expressed in an exit interview is part of a natural emotional response to difficult news or change. Listen for signs of ongoing anger or progress toward acceptance of the situation.
- If the individual threatens the company or tries to bargain the severance package, don’t negotiate.
- However, if the individual is reasonable and asks for assistance in finding a next position – references, introductions, etc. – then offer to assist as you can.
- Should the CEO make an attempt to follow-up with others who were riffed?
- No. If they contact you, then respond in a similar fashion as you are to the VP, but otherwise don’t try to contact them.
- In the Silicon Valley economy, people are familiar that employment situations change and know that as this happens they can be affected.