The Architecture and Interior Design industry, as all industries do, has its ups and downs.  The market today is in a “down”.  Layoffs have become an unfortunate reality for many professionals currently. When leaders of firms, large and small, find themselves in a situation where they must let go of coworkers and colleagues, it can be a challenging and emotionally charged experience.

It can seem hopeless, embarrassing, and terminal.  However, navigating layoffs and maintaining friendships with those affected is possible. In this blog post, we will explore some strategies and principles that can help you strike a balance between your professional responsibilities and personal relationships. Keeping that bridge from burning and leaving open the return of good employees.

So how do you pull it off?

Communicate then communicate again:

First and foremost, clear, and open communication is key when dealing with layoffs. Be transparent about the reasons behind the layoffs and show empathy towards those affected. Keeping lines of communication open can help maintain trust among employees and facilitate understanding. Share information about available resources, such as job search assistance or career development programs, to support your employees through this challenging time.

And be detailed with your communication.  Those being laid off are shocked, surprised, confused, and feeling insecure.  Spend time with each employee, one at a time, and go over the reasons for the layoff.  And take some of the responsibility.  It will be uncomfortable, but it will go a long way in keeping the bridge from burning down.

Give them space to ask questions:

Secondly, demonstrate genuine support and empathy. Understand that being laid off can be a deeply distressing experience, and your employees will appreciate your compassion and willingness to help. Offer your assistance in their job search, provide references or introductions, and be there to lend a listening ear.

Care for the employees that remain:

Lastly, avoid making your employees that remain feel isolated or abandoned. Just because they have kept their job does not mean they aren’t feeling some of the same insecurities as those who have been laid off.

The “communicate and then communicate again” step should also include those employees that remain.

In conclusion, navigating layoffs while still being friends is a delicate balancing act. Clear and open communication, genuine support, ongoing inclusion, and respect for personal boundaries are crucial in maintaining these valuable relationships. Remember that the bonds you’ve formed with your employees go beyond the workplace, and by approaching layoffs with empathy and understanding, you can preserve these friendships even in the face of professional challenges.