Navigating Layoffs: A Guide for Global Mobility Professionals

The recent rounds of tech layoffs have felt especially harsh to employees. Big tech workers are petitioning companies to show more respect, based on recent incidents. Some people discovered they were laid off while on parental leave, while others found out when emails bounced back. Ex-employees also complained about severance calculations and lost paid time off benefits.

The impersonal nature left some feeling alienated after years of pampering. Missteps have occurred, although many say flawed execution is still inevitable, be it rushed timelines, forgotten remote workers, or lack of transition support.

For many HR and global mobility professionals, the priority is choosing the least bad option with the lowest legal risks. Still, as one consultant noted, kindness and respect should not be forgotten — everyone crosses paths again. With planning and empathy, companies can make layoffs less painful.

Rollercoaster of emotions

Employees subjected to layoffs experience a rollercoaster of emotions, including shock, anger, and anxiety. The repercussions have extended beyond the affected individuals, impacting local economies and tarnishing a company’s reputation. Beyond immediate financial concerns, long-term career prospects and community well-being are affected. 

HR and global mobility professionals must now recognize the psychological impact and provide the following appropriate support — counseling services, job training programs among them, while making sure they adhere to legal and ethical standards:

  • Develop a transparent layoff policy, factoring in company needs and employee welfare
  • Seek guidance from legal and financial experts to ensure compliance
  • Craft a solid communication plan to keep employees informed while maintaining transparency
  • Explore alternative cost-saving measures before with employee retention as priority
  • Collaborate with management to sustain productivity and morale 

After all, layoffs are incredibly difficult experiences for both the employees who lose their jobs and those who remain. Though necessary at times, layoffs can fracture workplace culture and morale if not handled with great care. This is why highly communicative, compassionate processes are essential when layoffs occur.

To deliver the difficult news with empathy and respect, it is important to have individual meetings with affected staff. Transparent explanations provide closure while demonstrating organizational values. Support resources acknowledge the disruption caused and signal ongoing commitment to employee wellbeing.

For remaining employees, uncertainty and anxiety heighten during layoffs. Proactively addressing these concerns rebuilds trust in leadership. Regular updates keep people informed, lessening feelings of instability. Centralized resources like job search assistance and emotional support demonstrate organizational commitment to caring for impacted employees holistically.

Ultimately, communication that is clear, consistent and caring fosters unity even in the midst of loss. Though layoffs require tough decisions, companies can uphold their humanity through compassionate communication that puts people first. This balm of transparency and sensitivity helps organizations move into the future with culture intact.

Supporting laid-off employees

HR and global mobility professionals play a pivotal role in facilitating post-layoff support, offering:

  • Comprehensive severance packages to ease financial burdens
  • Outplacement services to aid in job search and career development
  • Training programs to enhance employability and skills
  • Mental health resources to cope with the emotional toll of job loss

After layoffs, organizations should focus on continued support for laid-off staff in their transitions, follow-up meetings with remaining employees to monitor morale, cultivating trust through transparency, and implementing feedback mechanisms. 

As for additional support, companies can support laid-off staff by communicating professionally, maintaining contact, offering transitional assistance like training and job search resources, and prioritizing internal mobility. 

To rebuild morale, global mobility professionals should open communication about organizational goals, encourage trust-building leadership, provide targeted development opportunities, and promptly address concerns. 

Though challenging, with strategic planning and compassionate support, organizations can navigate layoffs with resilience and integrity by prioritizing employee well-being and stability.

Foreign workers

As for foreign nationals employed in the US, they are primarily subject to US federal and state labor laws, regardless of their home country’s laws:

  • Employees on visas like H-1B and L1 are protected by US labor regulations on wages, working conditions, and layoffs. Their home country laws do not apply.
  • For layoffs, companies must follow applicable US laws like the federal WARN Act and any relevant state laws. Severance and notification are typically company policy decisions, not legal requirements.
  • Layoffs have immigration implications for visa holders related to status grace periods. These issues are governed by US immigration law.
  • Companies need specialized legal advice to ensure compliance with U.S. labor and immigration laws when laying off foreign staff.
  • Layoff impacts on global mobility need to be considered regarding employing foreign nationals in the US going forward.