Reducing headcount - Do's and Don'ts

Unfortunately I am evaluating layoff and furloughs due to COVID.  If you have any experience with this can you please share some of your knowledge, best practices, and what not to do?

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  • Hi Hope, I'm no expert in this but I unfortunately had to furlough and lay off people this past spring.  I would advise that you consult an attorney on how to mitigate risks.  Here are some things I did: we invited people to volunteer for furlough, we evaluated all our people on performance-based, skill-based criteria and made our decisions using that spreadsheet combined with our volunteer list as a guide for selecting people.  I wrote out a letter explaining reason for furlough and provided supporting documents outlining impact to benefits and some information on how to apply for unemployment.  We asked everyone on furlough to call me at regular intervals to keep in touch and indicate ongoing availability to work.  For those we eventually had to lay off, we paid out a severance in exchange for them signing a document basically stating they didn't have any reasons to sue us.  We also paid out unused vacation.  We had conversations with employees in person if possible, if not in person, then over the phone.

      • H Rice
      • Hope_Rice.1
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Grace Navera  Thank you!

  • Unfortunately, you aren't alone.  We've been helping numerous businesses navigate their options for reducing their workforce.  Each one is different.  Here's a great article we shared early in the pandemic that may be a good resource for you as you start down this path: If you'd like to talk to one of our Senior HR consultants about your situation, just drop me a note (

    Hang in there!


    • Caroline Vernon
    • Helping Companies Preserve & Protect Their Employer Brand
    • Caroline_Vernon
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    HI, I am sorry to hear you are facing layoffs and furloughs.  I would be happy to share some best practices with you.  I have included a couple of links that will serve to help you. - How to lay off an employee – the complete guide

  - Layoffs during the Covid crisis – best practices

    I hope they help you.  If you would like to chat, please feel free to connect with me on Linkedin.


    My best to you, 

    Caroline Vernon

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