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June 06, 2023

Dan Prokott Spoke to HR Brew About Best Practices for Workforce Reductions

HR Brew turned to labor and employment partner Dan Prokott for insight on strategies to keep in mind when companies consider conducting workforce reductions.

According to Prokott, reasons behind layoffs can be influenced by a multitude of factors. “Changes in business focus…can happen even when there may not be a specific decline.” He stated that companies carry less legal risk when they eliminate an entire department “because everyone in that department is being treated similarly.” However, when cutting employees across an organization, Prokott said employers should ask, “Why are we doing this? What are the business reasons for it?”

Prokott also noted, “It’s important that companies really try to identify a set of criteria that are going to be used at the outset of the decision-making process.” Criteria that can inform the decision typically encompass job performance, skill set, and years of service, he explained. Prokott added that there should not be a “trickling of decisions over a course of time where employees are left wondering, on a regular basis, ‘Is there going to be another round of people who are going to be let go?’”

Regarding carrying out layoffs, Prokott said, “You want everyone who’s being let go to feel respected and treated fairly.” He emphasized that layoff messaging should be personalized, stating that treating employees with dignity is important “not just to the employees who are departing but to the employees you’re retaining.”

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