This post is by Mauricio Alvarez
Covid-19 is causing havoc with many of our businesses. Some of us are having to release employees as we are unable to meet payroll. Dismissing poor quality employees is easier; but laying off loyal, qualified, and valuable staff as the result of an unwanted external situation can be frustrating, discouraging, and mentally stressful for both parties. Yet, Christ is in the middle of our workplaces and in control of all situations.
When you have to let go of someone and there is no other option, is there a Christian way of doing it that honors the worker and Christ? There are several verses in the Bible that show us how to treat people applicable to situations like this. We can definitely act in a way that shows the character of Jesus in the midst of laying off employees.
Here are some tips:
Your family is your top priority
But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers (1 Timothy 5:8). Without wanting to be insensitive and selfish, the Bible teaches us that the first thing we must watch out for is your family. The reality, the livelihood, provision and care of your family must be your first priority.
Though we hate to let others go, we are commanded to care for and provide for our own family first. In the midst of an unexpected and critical situation, we must ensure the sustenance and care of your family; this is our first responsibility before God.
It is important to understand that caring for your family should not be confused with selfishness; provision for the employees should not be confused with neglect of your family. As Christians there is a balance. When we need guidance, seek His help. He tells us to call to Him (Jeremiah 33:3), and He will guide us.
Let’s do good to everyone
Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith (Galatians 6:10). After our family, we must diligently try to do good to everyone. For me, I prioritize those workers whose family members depend on their salary to meet their basic needs. Some singles may still live with the support of their parents. Married couples may also have a spouse who is still working.
Plan for the worst: assess and make your forecasts
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences (Proverbs 22:3). To make decisions of this depth in a wise way, it is necessary to assess the company and plan for the worst.
Review your finances; what is needed to keep the business afloat? What outstanding debts and invoices do you hold? Will clients be able to pay? Are there any unnecessary assets you may sell off? What is the minimum number of employees you need to keep your business afloat?
The answers to these questions will give you the administrative basis on which to make decisions. This will prepare your heart and your business for the worst.
Evaluate all options
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble (Ecclesiastes 4:10). Once you know what are the bare essentials for keeping your business running, ask yourself: it is firing the best option? Are there other possibilities within your company or industry? What options are provided by the government?
With key personnel, is there any possibility of outsourcing the worker to another company who may need his skills? Perhaps you can consider creative alternatives, such as a change of position or role of the person in the company. It may be that she/he has to perform a task that is not to her/his liking for a while, but that is better than having to be without any income.
Engage all the staff. Ask for ideas. Explore their willingness to lower their salary to help everyone keep their job.
When there is no other choice…
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you… (Matthew 7:12a). Empathize, put yourself in the shoes of your employees. There is nothing better than feeling fully understood in the midst of hard times—being laid off. Be Jesus’ conduit to share His mercy and love. Proverbs teaches good communication is key to progress (Proverbs 13:17). Here are some communication pointers in discussing issues with your employees.
a. Talk to them directly as the business owner or immediate supervisor.
Never send anyone in your place to communicate something difficult such as being dismissed. The fired person needs you to look them in the eyes and speak frankly. It is part of his/her dignity as a person and will help her to feel valued in the midst of a difficult position.
b. Communicate all your efforts in trying to find a favorable solution for him.
The employee needs to hear that you have done everything possible to avoid his dismissal. Explain the situation and your efforts to try to achieve something favorable for him. Even though you’ve reached this decision, you tried your best to avoid it.
c. Make expectations clear.
Clarify the future. Is there a possibility of rehiring her once the pandemic has passed? Promise only what is reasonable. Do not say anything just to make the person feel good. Strive to honor God and be above reproach in giving hope; you don’t want to generate expectations that cannot be fulfilled.
d. Affirm them and be grateful.
Recognize their good work, their years of dedication, achievements, and appreciate their effort and work for the company. If you can recall specific acts of service that were meaningful to the business, clients or co-workers share them. Doing so will show you truly value and appreciate them.
e. Watch out over their reputation and good name.
It is important to bless them and release them on good terms. Strive not to humiliate the person. Ensure the integrity and reputation of the person is upheld. Even if the employee has not been the best performer, refer to him in public positively.
f. Be fair.
Reward them. Pay the employee what she is due, and if possible, give her an extra bonus, even if it means a sacrifice for you. By sacrificing yourself a little for your employees, you extend them the same attitude that Jesus extended to us, (Philippians 2.5-8).
Leave them with a message of hope: Remind the employee that there is a God who loves him and who has good plans for him. Share with him, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
g. If you can, share a promise with the person and finish praying for him/her.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
We at OPEN are praying and standing with you, in fact we are putting our money with our mouth is that we now have monies available to help needy businesses in their payroll. If you have cash flow issues, and need help meeting payroll, contact us at email@example.com.
OPEN USA supports workers in the 10/40 Window, who are doing Business for Transformation. Mauricio heads up OPEN Espanol. To learn more about OPEN USA and B4T, visit Find Yourself in B4T or openworldwide.net.