Here’s a story guaranteed to warm your heart and perhaps think twice about how your company has treated laid-off employees.

When forced to slash millions from its budget and reduce its workforce by more than 100 employees, Palm Beach County, Florida’s Clerk & Comptroller created the "We're All in This Together" transition program.

The program sought to minimize the impact of such dramatic changes by maintaining transparent, ongoing communications with employees; upholding employees' sense of empowerment and inclusion; and treating separating and remaining workers fairly and respectfully.
For separating employees, the organization provided an onsite job fair and transition workshops covering job-hunting, professional development, financial assistance and educational opportunities.
For remaining employees, there was a rebuilding/stabilization initiative that included a post-layoff period to adjust to the new environment, cross-training for new responsibilities, a "Clerk Kudos" recognition program and the implementation of the first "Employee Appreciation Dress Down Day."

For its efforts the agency recently received a 2010 Work-Life Innovative Excellence Award, the highest honor from the Alliance for Work-Life Progress, which recognizes organizations that have successfully aligned work-life initiatives with business objectives. Even better though, I’m sure, were the high marks employees gave the organization in its first post-layoff employee survey.

Although no company wants to layoff workers, when such action is necessary, there’s clearly a right way and a wrong way to do it. Comment and share your experiences in handling layoffs, good and bad.

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