Communicating Workforce Reductions Virtually

Will your company be making workforce changes during the pandemic while teams are remote?

Many companies have had to make tough decisions to reduce their workforce over the past year and due to the pandemic, leaders needed to have these communications with impacted employees virtually. At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes and outplacement services for 30 years.

Three areas we advise our clients when they are conducting job layoff notifications with remote teams are as follows:

  1. Best practices for communications. The most realistic, empathetic & easiest way to execute a remote layoff is through videoconferencing or telephone. Here are some tips:
  2. Logistics:
    1. Use a video conferencing platform that you already know to allow for a “face-to-face” conversation. Stay away from learning a new video software platform. Use a phone conferencing system instead.
    1. Schedule the call for the same day you send the invite.
    1. Consider employee time zones before setting up any meetings.
    1. Make sure your technology is working properly beforehand.
    1. Test your technology first – do a dry run with a colleague.
    1. Have a backup plan just in case.
  3. Deliver your message the same way you would in person.
    1. Speak clearly, slowly, calmly & with a factual & supportive tone.
    1. Stick to a script & practice beforehand.
  4. Leave time for questions so employees clearly understand everything you’ve stated & how the transition will happen.
  5. Discuss any logistics & expectations around delivery of documents & returning company property.
    1. Be sure to include a pre-paid package & checklist to arrive next day.
    1. Require a signature & delivery confirmation.
  • Role of Managers. Managers play a very important role as follows:
  • Notifying employees that their job is being eliminated in a way that is straight forward and sensitive – You will be provided with a script – make sure to stay on script.
  • Be visibly committed to decision.
  • Provide practical support.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Treat each employee with respect and dignity.
  • Deliver message to those who remain in your group and share plans to move your group forward. (careful of timing of the group invite!)
  • Role of Human Resources. HR should be ready to support managers and impacted employees as follows:
  • Prepare and partner with managers during conversation.
  • Provide severance package overview and benefits information to impacted employee.
  • Encourage impacted employee to meet with/call Outplacement consultants. 
  • Assist managers with potential problems, including non-cooperating employees.
  • Follow up with managers on key issues.
  • Contact for impacted employees.

At Transition Solutions, we’ve developed a robust personalized and customized approach to planning and executing every situation. Our strong reputation for consistently delivering exceptional service at value sets us apart.

If you would like more information on our services or additional information on planning for employee separations please check out our website at or you can contact us directly at 888-424-0003 or email us at