How to Inform My Staff That They Have Lost their Job

7/23/2020, By Sze-Yen Chee

Dear Yen, 

I have just been informed that I have to reduce my team’s headcount by half. I’m really worried about informing my staff that they no longer have a job. What tips do you have about what I can say or how I can say it better?  


Dear Nigel,  

During the Notification Meeting (that is the meeting where the person is informed that his role is no longer there), it is really important that you maintain a serious and somber tone. The tone is similar to how you would inform someone that he has a critical illness.  

This is a difficult meeting to conduct, and there are many contextual elements we are unable to cover in this article. However, here are some key things to note:  

1) Do not engage in small talk. Do not be flippant or humorous. Greet the person by name, thank them for coming to the meeting, and explain the rationale for the meeting. Work with your HR Business Partner to create a script that aligns with the corporate message.  

2) Ensure that you inform the individual that it’s the ROLE that is redundant, not the person.  

3) Ensure the individual understands what is going on and is aware of the next steps including the details of the separation and how to reach out to key individuals in the event there are further questions.    

There are obviously more details to be discussed in executing a smooth Notification Meeting and a lot of planning and preparation work before that.  

We conduct in-depth Training for Managers and HR leaders who have to execute these notification meetings that our clients have found extremely useful. 

Do reach out at [email protected] if you need further advice.  

Best Wishes