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Transitioning Your Organization for the New Reality

Article written by guest blogger, Don Truza. Don is President and CEO of The Transition Team, a global outplacement firm, and aids organizations with outplacement/career management, strategic planning, trailing spouses/partners, mergers, acquisitions, startups, and leadership development for associates of all levels. Don started with the firm in 1991.

Guidelines for Leading Through a Seamless Successful Transition/Lay-Off

The coronavirus pandemic has forced companies to evaluate their structure and in some cases, it has triggered layoffs and furloughs in an effort to improve efficiency and reduce costs. We enter 2021 with an economy that has 10 million fewer jobs than a year ago and 1 in 10 companies are downsizing. If your business is preparing for a transition or going through a lay-off, it can be daunting and emotional. The Transition Team has decades of experience and a proprietary process they use to guide the organization, the employee, and their families through the tough times. Here are a few best practices that will help you protect the image of your organization in the community, ensure future hiring activity, and maintain your reputation within the marketplace with your customers as to not scare them away from future business.

  • Examine why and when to implement a transition;

  • Research the potential legal pitfalls or liabilities and how to prevent them;

  • Analyze the procedural process and implementation;

  • Ensure proper follow-through to make this a seamless successful process.

Determine why you have to have this transition/lay-off and be consistent in your communications with all the details you are able to share to build trust during this difficult time. You will most likely have survivors and you need them and they need you, but being transparent and truthful is imperative for a trusting relationship going forward. Be sure to consider less drastic options. With your leadership team, go over every possible scenario to make sure this is the best for your business and your associates for long term success. If you determined this is the necessary direction, make sure your leadership team is aligned by starting at the top.

Think hard about when will this take place. You don’t want to conduct this close to a holiday and become a sensational headline. You certainly don’t want your organization to be labeled as another “St. Valentine's Day Massacre”.

Plan every detail of communication with a flow chart/timetable of what needs to be accomplished and who will be responsible. Determine who needs to be and should be communicated to in a timely rollout. Some details to be considered depending on your circumstances may be when and how to communicate to; Marketplace and industry associations; suppliers; investors and shareholders; customers; creditors; local political leaders; surviving associates; associates on medical leave; associates' families and retirees just to name a few. Develop a working document for Talking Points/FAQs as part of the overall communication plan. Add to the list as questions arise.

Detail the implementation plan. Prepare information sheets for managers (both notifying and non-notifying managers) including FAQs, HR contact, who to call, use of vacation, PTO, the potential for return to work, and severance. Define a process for the return of company equipment. Prepare a script and contact list for administrative assistants, receptionists, and security guards for announcement day. Contact EAP and prepare a document for surviving associates. Provide Notifier/Manager Training to help your team with what to say and more importantly what NOT to say that could hurt your business and future.

Avoid legal pitfalls by making sure your plan is in compliance. Make sure you review the regulations concerning the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), and know the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), if applicable. Review your severance package to make sure there are no discrimination issues.

Develop a Risk Mitigation Plan. There are over 25 areas to be aware of and we suggest you examine carefully the areas of facility security, IT security, safety, absenteeism, sabotage, pilferage, substance abuse, attitude, violence in the workplace, falsifying injuries in the workplace and how will your front-line supervisors and managers handle discipline through this transition. There also needs to be a plan in case there are potential threats which may include direct threats, conditional threats, and veiled threats. Train your front-line supervisors on what these threats are and the early warning signs that can help in prevention.

Educate the Top Ten Leadership Principles with your front-line supervisors and managers to make sure your business runs smoothly in meeting your customers' needs in product quality and delivery time tables. Even though your business is going through a transition, products and services must still be delivered uninterrupted to your customers.

Let us help by focusing on your impacted associates. The following Outplacement Process outline has proven over thousands of transitions to successfully meet the needs of your associates and their families:

Managing Change

  • Nature of Change

  • Effectively Dealing with the Emotions of a Job Loss

  • The Five (5) Cycles of Change

Life Planning

  • Life Plan: Health/Habits, Close Relationships, Career Growth, Location, & Finances

  • Life Action Plans

  • Developing a Vision Statement for your process

Career Planning

  • Understanding Your S.H.A.P.E. (Strengths, Heartbeat, Abilities, Personality, Experiences)

  • Job Targeting: Job, Boss, Company, Industry, Labor Market Segment, Location, Exercises

  • Transferable Skills

  • Career Wish List

Resumes and Cover Letters

  • Creating a value-driven resume for today’s marketplace

  • Duties and Responsibilities Check List

  • Work History Inventory

  • Types of Resumes

  • Written Communications for the Resume and Cover Letter

  • Sample Resumes & Cover Letters

Job Prospecting

  • The Value of Social Media in a career search

  • Websites for openings

  • The Importance of Identifying the Decision Maker

  • Developing Search Systems & Follow up

  • Networking & Effectively Working a Gathering

  • Utilizing Effective Telephone Techniques

Successful Interviewing

  • Types of Interviews

  • Personality Types of the Interviewers & Keeping the Interviewer Interested in You

  • Creating Visuals to validate your values

  • Interview Questions in the first round

  • EQ Question in the second round

  • Top 15 Items on the Minds of the Interviewer

  • Dressing for Success

  • Effective Follow up

Job Search Management

  • Job Search Management and Action Plan

  • Characteristics of Successful People

  • Perspectives on Job Search

  • Contact Worksheets & Contact Forms

  • Proper Follow up for Future Contacts

Career transition coaching can also help associates and their families with a safety net to take the next step successfully while also boosting the morale of your surviving associates to help you meet your business needs. Ensuring proper transition coaching reflects well on the company as you rebuild and hire in the future. The ROI, more times than not, will be a positive financial decision.

Peak Performance in partnership with The Transition Team will help guide your organization through tough times during downsizing. We protect your organization's brand and avoid legal challenges during a downsizing by using the right tools, the right strategies, and the right people to deliver employee results. Visit our Outplacement Services to see how we can help you or contact us at .

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