How to Handle the Last Day at Work

Responding to a Layoff and Unemployment for Impacted Employees

The days of working at the same company throughout the length of one’s career have all but gone the way of the pony express. Even employees who work long hours, take on additional projects or who volunteer to spearhead community and charity events for the company where they work are given pink slips.

Employees Being on the Brink of Unemployment

Departmental and firm wide reorganizations, acquisitions, mergers and economic conditions are types of events that impact the status of an employee’s job. The decision to eliminate a position during a broad layoff or reduction is typically communicated to impacted employees on or near their last scheduled day of work.

Receiving notice that their job has been eliminated can be difficult for impacted employees who must find a way to remain motivated while they look for new work during periods of unemployment. The choice to release employees is generally not an easy one.

Few people, including hiring managers and line supervisors, want to see a good employee leave the firm. However, it does happen. By following the below steps, impacted employees can make their exit as smooth as possible and increase their chances of landing a job elsewhere.

Value and Role of Human Resources

Generally a relationship manager or other professional from the company’s Human Resources department will meet with released employees to review their severance package.

However, if Human Resources does not automatically reach out after employees have been told that their position has been eliminated, those employees should contact their immediate supervisor and request a meeting with Human Resources.

Review and confirm items such as unpaid vacation days, outstanding overtime and tuition assistance payments due, cash and stock dividend payout dates and life and health insurance coverage end dates with the Human Resources representative.

Ask questions about rehire eligibility and other concerns one might have during the meeting. Even if the representative does not readily know the answer, they can research the matter and communicate the correct response to the employee at the earliest possible date.

Keys to Finding a New Job

If time permits, employees should access working files to update their resumes. Often by looking through project data files and outlook job folders, employees will be reminded of important work that they completed at the company. Once added to an updated resume, these finished projects can help to shorten the amount of time a person is on unemployment.

To have plenty of valuable contact information to network for a new job with, employees should take the time to ask colleagues for their email addresses and professional telephone numbers. This allows departing employees to keep in touch with former peers and senior managers whose insights, contacts and professional advice might prove invaluable over the coming weeks and months.

Conduct oneself in a manner that one wants to be remembered by. It is best to remain professional during involuntary exits. The event is also a good time for impacted employees to review their strengths and weaknesses.

For example, time away from work can be used to gain additional training that will remove weaknesses and improve strengths. Work related and interpersonal strengths can be used by employees to market themselves as knowledgeable consultants.

Advantage of Personal and Work Related Skill Sets

With the changing employment landscape, employees at all levels are encouraged to begin to see themselves as service providers. This way regardless of where they work, they will remain aware that it is their specific skill set that lands them temporary or full-time work and not being linked to a particular employer.

During layoffs released employees should also meet with Human Resources to review their severance package. They should also obtain contact information from colleagues they want to remain in contact with and begin to update their resume.

It is important that released employees remain professional after they are notified that their position has been eliminated. Employees who are aware of their strong skill sets are encouraged to focus on those strengths as they market themselves to future employers and clients.

Jobs, Resignation