Firing someone sucks. Every situation is different, stressful, and unpleasant. For many small businesses, a decision to lay someone off often comes after weeks or months of deliberation, and after looking at all possible alternatives.
Even if you give a good severance package and a letter of reference, it’s sometimes not enough. I believe that a business’ responsibility to the employee isn’t done until they find their next job or career. When an employee leaves, the business should proactively help the ex-employee find their next job.
Here are some specific business reasons why it might be a good idea to go above and beyond to help an ex-employee land on their feet:
- Build goodwill for future opportunities: Your past employees will have a more positive attitude towards you and your business if they feel that you genuinely did your best to help them. They are less likely to hold a grudge and more likely to help you in the future when an opportunity presents itself.
- Strengthen relationships with current employees: Current employees will look to how you treat your past employees as an indication of how they will be treated when they leave.
- Reduced risk of harm to the business: The faster a past employee finds a new job, the less likely they are to get into a desperate financial situation, and the less likely they are to do something for financial gain that is against your best interest, or that violates an NDA or non-compete.
If you are a business owner and are laying someone off, consider going the extra mile to help that employee find their next job — I think it will have long term benefits for your business.