Handling Layoffs in a Downsizing World

APRIL 18, 2016
Ryan Gray, MD
Layoffs are tough. But, the economic downturn, lower insurance reimbursements, increased business expenses, and the expectation that medical practices “do more with less” may make layoffs unavoidable.
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Although there is no easy way to cut jobs, there is a way to do it that minimizes the pain for you and your employees. Here are a few suggestions to help you manage layoffs in the best possible way:
1. Attrition is easiest. If you have vacant positions, or if you know of someone who plans to retire or leave for other reasons, it might be easiest to cut those positions so you don’t have to actually “fire” anyone.
The key here is communication. You should explain to your employees that, although cutting vacant positions may mean increased workloads and a reshuffling of job duties, you are committed to doing what it takes to avoid laying off existing employees.
2. Give plenty of notice. Don’t keep your employees in the dark. You may not be sure exactly what the layoffs are going to look like, but you should make your employees aware of the possibility as soon as you are able. This shows that you are being honest, open and considerate of your employees’ needs to plan their own lives.
Hiding layoffs until the last possible second will only create a culture of mistrust at your practice—and if the employees who have survived the layoffs are wary of you, they will be more likely to find other jobs or become disgruntled and unproductive. Err on the side of communicating too much, rather than too little.

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