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HR executives and leaders face one of the toughest jobs in the employment world: laying people off. They do not want people to get fired. 

But there are circumstances when they are helpless. Management cannot retain employees, especially when budgeting is out of control. 

We all have seen virtual layoffs during the COVID-19 era. It was a horrifying episode for employees in their lives. Many got fired on Zoom calls, while others were terminated over a chat messenger. 

The shame and horror of those COVID-19 time’s layoffs will always be a learning curve for HRs. They recognise the importance of firing employees remotely with more respect, assurance, and empathy. 

After all, departing employees cannot be guided anymore. They leave nasty comments for the company if they fail to receive good experience throughout their tenure. 

That is where a company’s reputation is at stake. To refine and rectify it before departing employees officially leave the organisation, refer to the strategies listed below.

Vital Strategies to Manage Virtual Layoffs:

Conduct virtual meetings with each employee:

Virtual layoffs are harsh and often come across as non-sentimental. However, employers can turn around the negative impact of online layoffs. Employers or HR executives must conduct a one-on-one session with employees to be fired. 

Managers must explain to them the right reason. This session helps bridge the communication gap between employer and employee. The latter will understand what’s going wrong. They also have an equal chance to explain why they shouldn't be fired. 

However, chances might be minimal. But conducting a personal meeting with the employee online looks like the employer is giving them a fair chance to defend themselves. 

This process helps to mitigate the negative impact of firing employees remotely without warning otherwise. 

Provide post-layoff support:

Employers must use a smarter uKnowva HRMS solution to provide their ex-employees with post-layoff support. It increases a warm impact despite the virtual layoffs.

Employers must be morally responsible for rolling out a recommendation and experience letter to these employees. When layoffs are in bulk, uKnowva HRMS helps to automate this process. 

It saves the total expected investment of time and effort. Employees get their letters when required the most. 

The job portal allows employers to recommend their past or ex-employees to other clients and companies. 

Employers, in any case, must not cut immediate contact with the departed employee. On the contrary, they must be in regular contact with them to ensure they get employed in a deserving place soon. 

Other employers can offer 2-3 months' salary in advance to employees during virtual layoffs. This is a feasible option when the company has a provision to pay its employees for the next 2-3 months, even in a financial crisis. 

It will be the best step to provide your employees with job security before getting employed again.

Let management acknowledge the loss and bring clarity on online layoffs:

Firing employees remotely without a cause is a wrong move. It invites only negativity and a bad reputation for the firm in the market. The departing employees would hesitate to recommend your firm to others in this case. 

To cater to this negative impact, management must get involved. For example, they can leverage the uKnowva social intranet platform to conduct live announcements and post new reports. That would be visible or transparent to everyone in the organisation. 

The news about layoffs will cause confusion and worry among employees. But when management clarifies the reasons and the support they can provide, employees understand better. 

Plus, the management must acknowledge the loss they will bear during the layoff. Their tone while delivering or communicating this message must be empathetic and humble. That's a unique way of bridging the gap between employee and employer expectations

Managers must allow the handover process to be smooth and respectful:

There has to be a smooth handover process. Everything should be aligned, and reporting managers must supervise the handover or download of duties. Departing employees must feel sad and disheartened. 

They might not want to complete the download or might turn non-serious to do so. Reporting managers have to bring clarity in their communication with the departing employees. 

With uKnowva’s social intranet, team members still leverage transparency. They can complete pending projects and still exercise a shared mindset till the last day there. 

Reporting managers can overview the project management feature. They identify the number of pending projects (assigned to the departing employee originally). Such information will bring more clarity in asking for a proper download from the ex-employee to the new one. 

Encourage internal communication between team members:

Virtual layoffs are never easy on employees. These layoffs create a sense of self-doubts and unworthiness amongst employees. This could lead to mental stress in departing employees. 

To negate this mental pressure, employers must encourage employees to connect and communicate from day one. They must leverage the implementation and availability of the uKnowva social intranet.

Employees can engage well there using polls, surveys, and numerous forums based on different topics. It allows employees to become corporate buddies. This regular practice of connecting transparently helps them share each other’s contacts later. 

This could be a helpful and fruitful venture when employees are fired because of an economic crisis. They don't look elsewhere to give interviews if their teammates helped out with references. 

Listen to the grieving concerns of the departing employee and act fast:

Employees who are told to resign will have grudges and grievances. There has to be a system in the organisation to cater to these queries and complaints. This will allow reporting managers to act fast and secure internal and external business reputations. 

The uKnowva HRMS allows HR managers and organisations to set up separate grievance management systems. HR teams must decide a process to resolve and evaluate complaints on time. 

Departing employees will have a less negative impression upon leaving if they file a query and resolve it promptly. It shows the seriousness of the management even in tougher times of virtual layoffs. 

Depersonalise the offboarding process:

There has to be a proper onboarding and exit management system, which uKnowva empowers HR departments with. This process must be free from manipulation or bias. Every departing employee must be treated in fairness. 

The clarity and transparency in the full-and-final of the departing employee will create a better impression. 


HR and talent managers face difficulties in managing virtual layoffs. That occurs more often when there is no clarity in communication channels and extending post layoff support. 

uKnowva HRMS helps teams to bridge this gap with the strategies discussed above.

Contact us today to know in detail and book a demo.


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