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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Employers can lessen the sting of layoffs with these best practices

Thousands of employees are unfortunately tasked with laying off millions of Americans amid the coronavirus outbreak — some surveys suggesting the number could already represent 12% of Americans.
Those employers may face no other options with regard to employment, but there are best practices that should be heeded, and employers can work to treat outgoing employees with respect and even offer help finding new jobs.
In Oklahoma, Jim Farris is one professional working hard to assist employers and Latest The Oklahoma Times employees affected by the coronavirus-related job losses in Oklahoma.

For 40 years, Farris’ human resources firm, James Farris Associates, has helped numerous state companies find workers and, at times, lay off workers.
Individuals across all industries have recently sought Farris’ help to find new jobs — or at the very least temporary jobs to get them through the quarantine, until they can go back to their primary work in the hospitality, energy and other fields. Some telecommuting workers have been let go by email.
Meanwhile, Farris started outplacement work for three organizations that terminated employees in the wake of the outbreak, but want to help them find other jobs.
“They care about their people and want to give them all the tools they need to be successful,” said Farris, whose firm among other things helps jobseekers fine-tune their resumes and interviewing skills.
Farris and other workplace experts caution employers to lay off with care.
“You need to make it as personal as you can,” Farris said. “People who are treated badly tend to let people know about it, and that will negatively affect you when things turn around and you’re trying to hire again.”
Business author Deb Boelkes believes how you lay off someone should be an extension of how you lead.
"Great leaders do both with compassion, integrity and candor," Boelkes said. "They lead with an open heart and the assurance that employees do have what it takes to excel — and they let people go the same way.”
Above all, follow the Golden Rule, treating people how you‘d want to be treated, she said.
“You would not want to hear bad news via email or a mass Zoom call,Press Release Distribution Services  or be treated as if you didn't matter to your supervisor and your company,” Boelkes said. “Instead, schedule a one-on-one meeting when you have a lot of time, because you will want to offer plenty of space for the conversation. If you keep your message authentic, from the heart and honest, they are most likely to receive it well."
Boelkes recommends specifically spelling out the employees’ strengths and contributions that future employers will recognize and value and brainstorming companies that may offer their dream jobs.
“Call contacts to inquire about opportunities, give referrals freely, and keep in touch with employees,” to see how things are going, Boelkes said.
Oklahoma professionals agree.
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