How do I break the news to col­league and close friend that I must make her re­dun­dant?

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Michelle Mur­phy

year, a pro­mo­tion came up at the IT firm where I work. A col­league and close friend pushed me to put my­self for­ward. When I got the job she was the first to cel­e­brate with me. Now, due to bud­get re­straints, the com­pany is down­siz­ing and I have been tasked with let­ting a num­ber of staff go. I was gut­ted to see my friend’s name on the list and have no idea how to break the news to her. Can you ad­vise me on how I can ap­proach this sit­u­a­tion with­out los­ing her friend­ship? fol­low­ing point­ers will help you to ap­proach it in a more pro­fes­sional light. Be pre­pared for an emo­tional re­sponse. How you han­dle this will de­ter­mine the fu­ture sta­tus of your friend­ship. 1. Make the con­ver­sa­tion brief: Be brief when hav­ing the ‘man­ager’ con­ver­sa­tion and of­fer your­self for the ‘friend’ con­ver­sa­tion af­ter work. Keep the ac­tual con­ver­sa­tion brief and iso­late your friend­ship un­til this is de­liv­ered — this is im­por­tant for both your own state of mind and for the way your friend per­ceives the ac­tion. 2. Don’t pro­cras­ti­nate: Be di­rect about the de­ci­sion. Beat­ing around the bush or us­ing hu­mour will not soften the blow and can give the false im­pres­sion that things can be turned around. 3. Plan your points: Con­sider writ­ing down some point­ers. Lay out the course of ac­tion suc­cinctly and hon­estly — the same as you would for any em­ployee. Present the rea­sons for the re­dun­dancy and of­fer your sym­pa­thy. “It’s not our call to make, as the busi­ness needs have changed. I wish there was an­other way, but my hands are tied.” 4. An­tic­i­pate the re­ac­tion: Any em­ployee will feel hurt and shocked af­ter los­ing their job and may say things out of anger. The fact that a per­ceived friend is de­liv­er­ing the news will ob­vi­ously com­pli­cate the mat­ter. You need to un­der­stand that your friend might try blam­ing you as a mem­ber of the man­age­ment team, so pre­pare to deal with that re­sponse. 5. Re­it­er­ate the value of your friend­ship: Make it clear that the friend­ship is a sep­a­rate is­sue and that the com­pany is also los­ing out here at a time of un­cer­tainty. The re­dun­dancy sit­u­a­tion is a purely eco­nomic is­sue. Soften this re­al­ity by ex­plain­ing that as far as you’re con­cerned, your work sit­u­a­tion will not in­ter­fere with your so­cial re­la­tion­ship and re­as­sure them that your friend­ship will re­main on the same foot­ing as al­ways. 6. Use the op­por­tu­nity to com­fort: Ap­proach the process as an un­for­tu­nate op­por­tu­nity but use your knowl­edge of your friend to make the de­liv­ery of the re­dun­dancy news as smooth and as pain­less as pos­si­ble. 7. Be there, but don’t be pushy: Your friend may be hurt and up­set, so con­tin­u­ous texts or calls might make things worse. Let them know you are there for them and are avail­able to meet but let it be their de­ci­sion. This is not the time to be overly pushy about meet­ing up. 8. Of­fer your on­go­ing sup­port: Ex­plain the sev­er­ance pack­age, help them plan find­ing their next job, of­fer an ex­cel­lent ref­er­ence and to work through cover let­ters, CV up­dat­ing, and in­ter­view prepa­ra­tion. Per­haps use your net­work to see what is go­ing on in the mar­ket and make some in­tro­duc­tions for them.

Tough busi­ness de­ci­sions can be hard to de­liver. If you clearly point out the rea­sons be­hind the busi­ness change, and back this up with data to high­light to your friend that all av­enues were ex­plored be­fore the de­ci­sion was made, then hope­fully — with your sup­port and guid­ance — it will make the ini­tial im­pact a lit­tle eas­ier. Michelle Mur­phy is Di­rec­tor of Collins Mc­ni­cholas, Re­cruit­ment & HR Ser­vices Group, which has of­fices in Dublin, Cork, Gal­way, Sligo, Athlone and Lim­er­ick

It is im­por­tant to plan for the meet­ing and keep the ‘man­ager’ con­ver­sa­tion as brief as pos­si­ble

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