MAJOR MISTAKES to avoid when conducting a Retrenchment exercise

2/7/2020, By Sze-Yen Chee

Dear Yen,

What are some major MISTAKES to watch out for when conducting a Retrenchment exercise?

Best Regards,

Dear June,

Here are some major mistakes to avoid:

1) Don’t extend the session beyond 15 minutes. 

Remember: The Manager’s role is to notify, ensure understanding and provide separation details. The longer the meeting drags on, the more likely something that could be misconstrued might be said and things can get complicated. If additional time is needed, HR should accompany the individual into a separate room to manage the situation personally. 

2) Don’t Discuss Others.
One common question that is often asked is: “Am I the only one?” or “Who else is affected?” Their curiosity is natural, but never discuss the details of other colleagues or departments with the departing staff as this is a breach of privacy. A simple answer like “We are here to discuss your situation and how we can help you. Let’s focus on that for now” would suffice. 

3) Don’t Be Dismissive.
Remember that the objective at hand is to convey the message compassionately. An individual once asked, “How does this affect the project I’m working on?” because he was concerned about his client’s well-being. His Notifying Manager responded with a gruff, “Don’t bother about it. Just think of how you are going to enjoy your break!”

4) Don’t Solve Problems.
For many, this is usually borne out of sympathy. We may try to make small talk to lighten the situation, attempt to be humorous to cheer the other party up or even make suggestions that we think could be helpful. When the dust settles, they can be as helpful as they want, but not during the notification meeting itself.

There are many more details to consider in conducting an Exit notification smoothly. Do reach out if you have any more questions.

All the best!