The ethical paradox of layoffs

Layoffs are hard.
Layoffs are difficult.
It is often the outcome of bad decision-making at some level.
It could also be a case of a risk-taken gone bad situation. 
Bad decisions should be avoided. But a bad decision was taken and then we have layoffs in hand.

It’s inhumane or is it?

This is the ethical paradox of layoffs most leaders are faced with.

Layoffs are bad.
Layoffs hurt the people who are directly on the chopping list.
The toll it takes on the human person is high, monetarily and mentally.
It should be the last decision after every other option to save the business is considered.

How does layoff become an ethical paradox for leaders?

Let’s say we apply the humane socialistic perspective of not laying off – by holding on to people who no more serve the business i.e customers, nor contribute to the revenue stream of the business…

Paying salary without getting equivalent revenue…
Paying salary from the pocket of other employees who contribute to the revenue…

It will soon catch up on the balance sheet. How long can the salary expense be made without sufficient revenue generation? Ergo the humane action of not laying off will become inhumane by the simple virtue of turning a decent business into a loss-making venture and impacting the livelihood of all the employees instead of limiting the impact to a small set of employees.

That’s the ethical paradox of layoffs many leaders are faced with – should they take a hard humane decision of saving the company and almost all its employees by taking an inhumane decision to lay off a small group now?

Image : Pexels

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