It’s never easy to lay off employees, but it can be inevitable if you need to cut back on spending. For some businesses, this means laying off field staff and keeping only core office employees who are vital to everyday operations. If you’re thinking about laying off your field staff, here’s what you should do to verify that it’s the best decision and ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Consider Other Options
Depending on the extent of the layoffs and how much you need to reduce spending, there may be layoff alternatives available. One of the most common options is a temporary layoff. Instead of terminating employment entirely, you lay off employees or simply reduce their hours for a set period of time. This works well if your business is in a seasonal industry that fluctuates between high- and low-demand periods throughout the year. Check the employment contracts of your field staff first to verify that they allow for temporary layoffs.
If you only have a few field staff employees, you could attempt to transition them into new roles with your company. Although you don’t cut any spending this way, the change in position could lead to greater productivity from those employees.
Plan the Logistics of the Layoffs
When planning your layoffs, start by determining exactly who you’re letting go. You need to know this to check individual employment contracts and make the necessary preparations, including drawing up termination paperwork and setting up severance packages, which vary depending on each employee’s length of employment.
Figure out when and where you can meet with each employee and how you’re going to deal with the aftermath of the layoffs in your office. Your other employees may be on edge after a round of layoffs, and it’s a good idea to explain the situation to them so that they don’t become distracted or feel like they need to start looking for a new job.
Ensure you know how you’re going to get any company property back, as well. Since field staff spend most of their time out of the office, it’s common to issue them equipment, such as vehicles, cell phones, laptops or other supplies. Get your property back as soon as possible to avoid losing expensive equipment.
Notify the Employees
The Canada Labour Code covers the rules for terminating employees, and you need to follow them to avoid an unjust dismissal complaint. Proper procedure depends on the employee and the type of layoff, as a temporary layoff works differently than a permanent layoff.
In most traditional employment situations, you can’t just meet with an employee and lay them off on the spot. You must provide a written notice of the impending termination at least two weeks in advance. Keep a copy of each written notice and a record of the dates when you sent them. If you’d rather not provide written notice, the alternative is giving the employee two weeks’ pay.
While layoffs can be an unpleasant experience, they may be necessary for the success of your business. Prepare properly before layoffs to make them go as smoothly as possible.