Monday, May 28, 2012

Job loss from the manager's perspective...

Laying off an employee is often a difficult experience for managers. It is a painful task which can put them through a whole range of emotions (e.g., sadness, relief, disappointment, uncertainty, powerlessness, anger, fear, etc.). To deal with this experience the best way possible, it is important to prepare properly before announcing the news, gather information and understand the hardship that may be caused, both to you the manager and to the employees losing their job.

Here are a few strategies that can help you announce a job loss to the person who will be leaving and to the rest of the team.

Announcing the news to departing employees

It is important to always show empathy and compassion when informing employees that they will be losing their job. Garderet (2005) has developed a model to guide physicians who have to tell patients that they have cancer. We have adapted that model to a job-loss situation:

Announcing a job loss

  • Prepare for the meeting: allow sufficient time, find a quiet, discreet location, announce the news in person, etc.
  • Understand what the person already knows about the situation.
  • Provide information in a brief, concise and encouraging way.
  • Respond with empathy to the person's emotional reactions.
  • Summarize what was said, and talk about the next stages.

Losing your job: dealing with loss and bouncing back

Over the course of their lifetime, many people will deal with the loss of a job. We have started a series of short blogs about this experience. The first addresses the difficulties that people who lose their jobs may experience and the mourning period that follows. The second covers things that can be learned from the experience. The third short text looks at the experience of the managers who are doing the lay-offs. Job loss is often a difficult experience. It can affect people on different levels:

  • It can undermine identity: For many people, their identity is linked, in part, to their work. For example, some will identify themselves with their workplace or their profession. This sense of identity can be shaken after losing a job.
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence are also often tested, and it is very important to work at rebuilding them.
  • Some people may be embarrassed by losing their job, regardless of the reasons for the job loss. This feeling is very difficult to deal with and to share; talking with people who have had a similar experience can help decrease its intensity.
  • Losing a job can also bring back memories of other losses, like losing a job in the past, or losing a parent.
  • Many will agonize about the uncertainty, their future, their financial situation, etc.
  • It creates stress for many people; this stress can also affect other facets of their life.
  • The experience can cause psychological distress that sometimes worsens and leads to depression or other mental health problems. In such cases, people should not hesitate to consult with a professional who will be able to help them overcome these problems.
  • The loss of a job also gives rise to what we call secondary losses, like the loss of colleagues, routine, lifestyle, etc.

Mourning the loss

Losing a job often causes grief, which Kübler-Ross (1969) divides into the following stages:

    Moving past loss: bouncing back after losing a job

    Notwithstanding the hardship often experienced following a job loss, it can be beneficial to try looking at what can be learned from the experience. The loss of a job can be seen as a transition, an opportunity to take time to think about your career, revisit your needs, wants and priorities, think about your future, and sometimes, refocus your career.

    Many people begin a process of introspective reflection after losing a job. It can often be beneficial to make it a time:

    • To explore your environment and compile information about available jobs, various organizations and workplaces...
    • For introspection: revisit your interests, values and experiences. Seeing how these values can be useful in a job situation can help guide your reflections on your career and your life.

    Learning from the experience

    Losing a job is also an opportunity to question yourself and try to understand:

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    10 Tips: When You Lose Your Job

    1. Learn all you can about the work force adjustment process. It’s important to understand and to think about your options and your rights.
    2. Establish a new daily routine. A new type of work day and new goals for yourself.
    3. Look into your resources. Cut expenses if necessary. Check into your benefits (e.g. health insurance). Investigate alternatives.
    4. Seek the emotional support you need — from family, friends, counsellors, psychologists, and other professionals.
    5. Look after your health. Find out how to deal with stress. Continue exercising and socializing. Try not to overeat or under eat. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption.
    6. Continue or start networking. Start talking to people. Let your contacts know that you are looking for work.
    7. Don’t be ashamed you are out of work. Don’t blame yourself (often these things are outside our control).
    8. Learn to deal with change. If you can’t find a job similar to the one you had, look for new ones for which you are qualified. If necessary, seek some training, go back to school, consider relocating...
    9. Be good to yourself. Once you have taken a bit of time to get over the shock of loosing you job, pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Don’t isolate yourself.
    10. Keep your sense of humour. It’s tough but try to remain positive in the face of adversity.

    Leaman Long, B.A., B.Ed.
    HRM Consultant
    Y2 Consulting Psychologists Y2

    If you have any questions and/or comments, don't hesitate. Thank you!

    Friday, May 4, 2012


    « l' (...) épreuve nous ébranle d'autant plus fort qu'elle nous atteint à l'endroit précis où nous ne l'attendions pas. Nous aimons les certitudes à un point tel qu'il nous arrive d'en préférer de fausses à la vérité. » (Malherbe, 1996 p.11)

    Souvent, au cours de notre vie, nous sommes confrontés à l'incertitude. Pour certains elle survient lorsque leur emploi est menacé, pour d'autres quand ils attendent un diagnostic important, une grande nouvelle, quand une relation est ébranlée et que ses suites sont incertaines, etc. Les sources d'incertitude très nombreuses et génèrent une panoplie d'émotions...

    Qu'est-ce que l'incertitude ?

    L'incertitude est : « Cet état dans lequel se trouve un individu qui, nourrissant un désir, se trouve confronté à son propos au champ ouvert des possibles. ». (Bronner, 1997, p.4). Elle est source de différentes émotions.

    Souvent l'incertitude engendre un stress ou une anxiété importante. Quelques fois elle va se transformer en tristesse, en découragement, en colère, etc. Mais elle est aussi parfois une source d'espoir, d'excitation ou d'apprentissages.

    Comme le souligne Malherbe (1996), sans convictions la vie perd sa couleur, sa consistance et pour certains elle semble perdre sa valeur. En ce sens, les convictions sont nécessaires, elles nous poussent à foncer dans la vie, à avancer, elles sont à la base de notre motivation. Inversement, l'incertitude ébranle cette motivation. C'est pourquoi, entre autres, l'incertitude est aussi difficile à vivre. Et pourtant, l'incertitude est inhérente à la vie...

    Share |