Guidelines for Providers: Responding to a Layoff

If MHN has contacted you about providing onsite assistance related to a layoff, please coordinate your plans with the management consultant. The consultant can inform you of the plan, having worked closely with the company’s HR department to assess the needs of management and impacted employees.

The management consultant may have already asked HR questions about the layoff, including:

  • How many employees are affected and what positions do they hold?
  • What is the reason for the layoff?
  • If the company’s ownership is changing, will the employees be offered interviews by the new management?
  • Who will tell the employees that they will be laid off and when?
  • Will they be informed individually or in groups?
  • Will the day of the announcement be their last day?
  • If they are given notice, how long is the notice?
  • Will some or all employees be offered a severance package?
  • Have there been layoffs prior to this one? Are employees aware the announcement is coming?
  • Are there particular employees management is concerned about?
  • Does the company have a security department who will be on hand to assist if needed?

Ask the management consultant about the following:

  • The name and phone number of the onsite contact
  • When and where to report
  • Background information collected from HR regarding the layoff announcements
  • The “Coping with Layoffs” tip sheet and EAP access phone number
  • Billing instructions for your services

The services asked of you will vary and may include:

  • Meeting with the HR representative contact to discuss the format for the layoff announcement, which the management consultant and HR have agreed upon
  • Informing groups of employees and/or managers about services available through their EAP during the time of transition
  • Handing out the “Coping with Layoffs” tip sheet provided by MHN
  • Informing staff of their EAP access phone number, including the number of sessions they have available through this benefit
  • Meeting with employees individually immediately after they have been told they are being laid off
  • Meeting with groups of employees during and/or immediately after the announcement
  • Meeting with groups of employees several days after the announcement has been made

Human Resources will often set up a room for the provider to see employees. Employees are more likely to engage with providers if they are available informally (e.g. walking around the breakroom or cafeteria, introducing themselves).

The onsite EAP provider should:

  • Be prepared for a wide range of emotional reactions from employees. Validate those reactions and provide concrete guidelines for what employees can do for themselves during this period.
  • Maintain a neutral stance. Employees commonly view the provider as an extension of management and may direct anger towards you. That might take the form of inappropriate questions, complaints, or attempts to place you on the defense. Instead of appeasing employees, acknowledge and normalize their feelings.
  • After meeting with the employees, follow up with the HR representative and provide a general overview of the employee reactions. In addition, follow up with the management consultant to report on your onsite visit and any concerns or follow up that might be needed.

MHN’s Management Consultation Department thanks you for helping our client manage the challenges of a layoff.