There is a layoff program in my company: how to negotiate my exit
If a layoff plan or downsizing program is in place in your company (outside of a voluntary departure plan), it is probably a bad health sign or at least it needs to improve its profitability by reducing its payroll. And if your company got to this rather unpleasant scheme it is probably because they thought, in all honesty, that they had no alternative.
If your job is in the core business of your company or vital to it, you may not be concerned by this workforce downsizing. But you may still want to be part of it if, for example, you wish to go to other projects in your life.
On the other hand, you may be part of the plan but the conditions offered may not cover your specific damages by losing your job. So, you might be angry.
First, let’s kill 2 preconceived ideas.
I am not part of the plan so I can’t negotiate anything
May be your first reaction will be to think that you can’t get the same conditions of the plan while being out of the plan.
Well, 2 things have to be considered here:
- If you’re not in the plan, maybe it is because you’re needed or maybe your company already has enough cost cutting on other jobs than yours.
- If there is a downsizing plan, then savings must be done.
Now this situation the adequate type of negotiation is to work on the influence. The objective is to make your N+1 consider that he has an interest in letting you go in relation with cost cutting & organizational issues.
In these negotiations, absolute discretion, if not secrecy, is mandatory. If you want to achieve your goal(s) your company needs to know with certainty that you will stick to confidentiality on your discussions. Your company cannot take the risk of leaks in this particular context as:
- This would create a ‘known first’;
- This could generate an organizational debacle;
- It could force the company to account for it with the unions.
As soon as these conditions as met and when you have brought your company to believe that it would have an interest in letting you go, it is probable that this negotiation ends with comparable conditions than the plan, if not even better.
In this situation it may seem illegitimate to you to obtain better severance conditions than the ones of the plan. After all, you called the shot.
I am in the layoff plan: I’m trapped in the global terms
The downsizing plan has laid out the severance terms on an average basis. Those terms are essentially based upon age and seniority but rarely upon actual individual damages for the person.
A downsizing plan, as defined by the French law, leads to a one-to-one agreement. So, it is possible to negotiate better-than-the-plan, specific terms as long as confidentiality and an absolute secrecy are protected.
Influence is of the essence. Your requests have to be legitimized so that your company will make your case an off-the-plan one particularly in view of your specific damages.
In reality it is very difficult to be part of a layoff plan if your position is not. But it is possible to obtain equal terms (if not better) through an influence approach.
If your position is part of the plan, better terms can be negotiated by highlighting your specific damages.