The New Rules of Layoffs | Kanebridge News
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The New Rules of Layoffs

Executives weigh the best way to let people go

By CHIP CUTTER
Wed, Apr 5, 2023 8:34amGrey Clock 3 min

When McDonald’s Corp. said it would temporarily close its U.S. offices as it conducts layoffs at the burger chain, it brought renewed attention to a debate swirling inside HR departments: What is the best way to let people go?

The question is taking on urgency as more U.S. companies, from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Amazon.com Inc., move to shed staff in a wave of layoffs that is heavily concentrated on white-collar jobs.

When it comes to carrying out those cuts, companies employ a range of approaches designed to minimise the pain and disruption of a difficult process.

Here are six of the questions employers face.

All at once or a little at a time?

Many companies grapple with whether to make one sweeping layoff or do a series of smaller cuts. Both carry risks.

At a time when employers still face challenges filling positions, large job cuts can lead companies to inadvertently cut key units or people, executives say.

Yet, taking it slowly to give a company time to assess its financial situation can take a human toll, creating a prolonged period of anxiety and instability inside an organisation. Amazon.com has enacted more job cuts than expected in recent weeks, announcing last month that it would cut 9,000 more corporate jobs following earlier layoffs.

Face time or FaceTime?

Bosses long believed delivering the bad news face-to-face was the more humane approach. Covid-19 changed the equation. While many workers are being called back to the office, at least part time, full office attendance remains rare. Some executives are now asking themselves whether it is actually easier—and more humane—for employees to learn about a layoff on Zoom versus in-person.

“It almost seems cruel to ask someone to commute into the office just to let them go,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Midweek or Friday?

Just as with in-person firings, the conventional wisdom was Friday was the best day to carry out a layoff. That gave employees the weekend to process the news and plan their next steps.

That thinking has shifted. Many employers now see a midweek announcement as more humane, according to Lorna Hagen, a longtime chief people officer. A layoff on a Wednesday, Ms. Hagen said, can give employees time to talk to HR representatives or benefits providers during business hours in the ensuing days.

It’s not you—it’s me

One mistake managers continue to make, HR professionals say, is to tell employees how hard it is to let them go. “That just hits people the wrong way,” said Mr. Challenger. “It’s not about you.” The latest wave of layoffs often has felt like a competition among CEOs over who could craft the best apology.

Many executives have turned to lengthy memos to explain why they resorted to layoffs. Some of those notes look “suspiciously similar” across different companies, said Paul A. Argenti, professor of corporate communication at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He recommends that managers be as transparent as possible with employees about the health of a business so that no one is surprised when layoffs are announced.

Multiple months of pay, or less?

The size of exit packages is also up for debate. At the very least, companies should give laid-off employees a month of severance pay, corporate advisers say, though a number of employers have offered more. When Salesforce Inc. said in January that it would lay off employees, Marc Benioff, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, told workers that those in the U.S. would receive a minimum of nearly five months of pay, health insurance and other benefits.

Some smaller companies have received pushback from employees for not accelerating stock-vesting dates or for issuing severance packages that some saw as underwhelming. HR advisers recommend that companies be as generous as possible with exit packages. In an era when employees can easily sound off on a company even when they are being fired, it is also a best practice to develop a severance policy that can be defended.

OK, now who goes?

One of the last, toughest parts of any downsizing: determining who should be let go. The process of developing a layoff list is complicated and can stretch for weeks, with department heads and managers often debating which employees to eliminate. Seniority once guided layoffs, though it is now far more common for companies to assess skills over tenure, and to heavily consider someone’s recent performance.

HR officials will then often scrub a list, wanting to ensure that a company isn’t disproportionately laying off workers over the age of 40, or unfairly targeting minorities and others. Even with much preparation, many veteran HR leaders say layoffs can be messy. “There is no good way to do this,” said Gregory DeLapp, who spent much of his career in HR at the steel and materials manufacturer Carpenter Technology Corp.



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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.

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