One of the greatest threats to employee engagement is unceremonious or undignified dismissals.

By Nancy Koury King, DM

Last month I was at the Leading Age Peak Conference and had the chance to hear from several people who were planning to make uncomfortable changes in their senior living organizations.

One of them told me their organization was having to do a reduction in force. It was going to be a very difficult — the organization’s leaders truly cared about their employees. This was not something they wanted to do, it was something they had to do.

Laying Off Team Members

They were meticulous — they planned PTO payouts, severance, communications, and proactively looked for other places in the organization where those affected could transfer. She then shared that she and her boss used my book, Fired: How to Manage Your Career in the Age of Job Uncertainty to make sure as they planned the layoffs, they did everything they could to help the employees affected transition successfully. 

The care they are taking will be noticed by the rest of the employees. 

Another person at the same conference told me that she too is having to look at organizational changes and that the book is helping her think more intentionally about those affected. While she is focused on what is best for the organization, her sensitivity to those affected and their co-workers is heightened. 

The Greatest Threat

One of the greatest threats to employee engagement is unceremonious or undignified dismissals. We’ve seen them in the news. You may have witnessed them at work. Someone is “perp walked” out the door. Or at 4:55 pm there is an email saying someone “. . . is no longer with XYZ Company.” Or maybe you’ve heard managers blame or scapegoat the person who was let go. The remaining employees who see their friends treated poorly in a termination wonder, Am I next? or Is this company worth my loyalty? 

It is so difficult to let someone go, whether they “deserve” it or not. It should be. Handling these gut-wrenching decisions with grace and dignity helps leaders keep the trust of their employees. 

It is really exciting to see that something like this book project, which was a labor of love, is making an impact with leaders who truly care about their employees and their organization’s culture. 

You can find my book on Amazon or contact me through my website: