Planning for Employee Notifications

Are you in the difficult position of having to notify one or more employees that their position has been eliminated and no other opportunity presently exists within the organization?

At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes and outplacement services for 30 years.

When business strategies change for whatever the reason, HR leaders often find themselves in the difficult position of having to notify one or more employees that his/her position has been eliminated and no other opportunity presently exists within the organization.

The guidelines below focus specifically on notifying employees of job elimination as a result of a reduction in force, which usually means a “no fault” separation. Your role is critical for the separated employee, for those who remain, for the organization at large and for your own managerial credibility.

The key objectives of the separation meeting include:

  1. To inform the employee in a straightforward and sensitive manager that his/her job is being eliminated.
  2. To provide details of the separation and severance agreement including outplacement support.
  3. To ensure professional and respectful handling of each separation.

Your attitude, knowledge and skill in conducting this meeting may enhance the separated individual’s ability to move towards new employment more quickly than might otherwise happen. The secret is preparation for the meeting – knowing what to say and what not to say. To convey the decision in the best possible way you must know your audience, choose the right words and be ready for tough questions and reactions.

Key elements of a successful meeting include:

  1. Planning the communication of the corporate decision.
  2. Informing the affected employee.
    1. Provide facts clearly.
    1. Present the decision as final.
    1. Describe the separation package and listen to employee reactions.
    1. Acknowledge you hear what he/she is saying, and validate their emotions.
    1. Offer support and encouragement.
    1. Treat each employee as an adult – with dignity and respect.
    1. Be professional yet compassionate.
    1. Treat each employee as you would want to be treated.

Meeting preparation is very important and should include:

  1. Mentally reviewing what you are going to say and what the possible responses might be.
  2. Take a minute to gather your thoughts before the meeting.

Remember, this action is a fact of business life – no shame, dishonesty, guilt, morality or question of ethics is involved. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that a successful meeting will result in a more productive transition. Your ability to believe this, the organizations, severance support and your acceptance of the responsibility for protecting the organization will determine your success in this tough assignment. More information on planning for a separation can be found on our website.

At Transition Solutions, we’ve been helping organizations and individuals with outplacement needs for 30 years. We have 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