Compassion when Downsizing

Compassion when Downsizing

Compassion when Downsizing

Profitability is the object of all businesses, whether they are small or large businesses. It is a given that organizations want to increase revenues and decrease costs. After all, companies want to report higher profits for their investors and shareholders. Therefore, it does not matter if we are in a pandemic; organizations must continuously take a head count and determine what people are required.

With that in mind, Human resources and Senior decision-makers often find themselves in positions where they may need to downsize the number of employees in their companies. Often these decision-makers must painstakingly consider what job functions can be reassigned to other employees and what employees need to be downsized.

When these decisions are made, family members of employees are directly or indirectly affected. For each person who is downsized, there is a multiplier effect of 2, 3, 4 or perhaps even five or more family members who may be impacted by the decision to restructure one person from the organization. These other family members are often dependent upon the decision-maker who has been restructured. The schooling, basic living requirements, and extra-curricular activities of all family members can be significantly impacted by the layoff of one family member.

Missed Opportunity for Compassion when Downsizing at

Now, let’s reflect on a layoff of 900 employees from Given the possibility that the layoff may impact 3 or 4 family members on average for each employee, it can negatively affect many people. Many will remember how the news was delivered by its senior leader. All people were called into a video meeting and abruptly told that they did not have a job anymore. There were reports that the CEO wanted to give only one week’s severance pay to each laid-off employee. Media reported worldwide the cold manner with which a layoff notice was delivered to its employees. Many employees complained about the lack of empathy and consideration that affected the laid-off employee and their families.

Downsizing Preferred Practice

I suppose if there is anything I have learned in my 20+ years of career experience in working with employees who have been downsized, it is that consideration is a critical element in ensuring that notice is compassionately delivered to downsized employees.

Like communicating any bad news to anyone in life, it is essential that the HR Professional show compassion and consideration when planning to downsize each employee.

There is never a great time to downsize. However, please try not to lay off anyone just before or immediately after a holiday, birthday or another special day in a person’s life.

Many of us have been downsized in our careers. We know how we felt when the news was delivered. Whether you have been laid off or not, it is essential to self-check when you plan to downsize an individual. Continuously ask yourself throughout the entire layoff process how you would feel if it were you who was being laid off. By considering how you would feel if you were being laid off, let this be a guide to ensure that you plan and downsize an employee with the same compassion and care that you would want for yourself.

Compassionate Downsizing Guide

  1. Do your research first. Become an expert on the laws and rights of an employee laid off. Learn and apply the laws concerning severance pay in the province where you are located. More importantly, be “fair and reasonable” for the time of service that the employee was with the organization.
  2. Plan to do the downsizing in person, if possible. This has been complicated during a time of a pandemic or distance between the person who is delivering the news. Conduct the meeting ideally on a Tuesday or Wednesday (the middle of the week), and when you think fewer people may be present in the office. Schedule the meeting in a more isolated room from other employees or managers.
  3. Learn as much as you can about the employee who is being downsized. Seek out information if they have a partner/spouse, family or friend that they can contact after the employee has been delivered the news.
  4. Schedule a meeting on a day that is not on a birthday or religious holiday or is too closed to a special or an important day in the employee’s life.
  5. Prepare and communicate a very well-planned message to the employee. Let them know that this layoff decision is a business decision. Although they may want to ask a lot of questions, keep to your prepared message, assuring the employee that the decision is a business decision and that you and other HR professionals in the company would like to help them as best as your company can, to navigate through this transition period as they look for new employment
  6. After communicating the news about the downsizing to the employee, provide this employee with the opportunity to express his thoughts. Tell the employee that personnel in the HR department will do what they can to positively support them during this transition. Tell them that you empathize with their situation. Emphasize that you and your colleagues will do what they can to help them through the period of layoffs.
  7. Offer them career transition or coaching support. Encourage the employee to utilize the services of an Outplacement Consultant that the company is offering them as this support will help them during this critical time in their life. If the company has an Employee Assistance Program, show them, Employee Assistance Program’s services.
  8. Schedule a suitable day and time with the employee so that he/she can pick up his possessions.
  9. Be prepared to offer the employee a taxi to drive home. Even if they have their car, they should still be offered a taxi. They and a friend should be picked up in the car later.
  10. Offer a reference to employees if it is the company’s policy.

The above ideas are some recommendations a company’s HR professionals and managers should consider when downsizing an employee.

Downsizing is often not easy for the employee who has been downsized. In most cases, the company HR professional who delivers the news may be stressed and worried about providing the news to the laid-off employee. However, if proper time, consideration, and compassion are considered in the planning, preparing, and delivering the notice of a layoff, the event can occur more smoothly. And it should always be remembered that compassion and consideration should be provided to any employee who has been downsized.

Tis the Season to Build Strong Business Relationships

Tis the Season to Build Strong Business Relationships

3 Reasons why Networking during the Holiday Season is Ideal

With offices shutting down for the holidays, and streets ignited by Christmas lights, it’s easy to assume your job hunt must be put on pause. The truth is, though, the end of the year tis the season to build strong business relationships and demonstrate your value as a candidate to potential employers. Here are three simple reasons why December is a perfect month to expand your network and build strong business relationships.

More Free Time

Employers are less busy during this time of the year and may be open and available to talk with people who can make a genuine difference to their company. Not only will there be less restrictive schedules as companies slacken their reigns, but the holiday spirit could likely elevate employers’ moods, making them more approachable and generous with their time. This makes mid-December, before Christmas, a prime time for introductory meetings.

Employers are Preparing for the New Year

As the year comes to a close, most companies, like individuals, envision new year resolutions. Sometimes this emerges as fiscal goals, enhancements in company culture, or general head counts of staff to tighten overall efficiency. With new resolutions comes an openness to new perspectives—and that’s where you could come in. Simply understanding a company’s future vision and articulating how you can help contribute to it is a sure way to, at the very least, get a potential employer’s attention.

Most People are Drinking Eggnog

One of the most important approaches to demonstrating your value is doing what everyone else is not. Being unique and demonstrating a strong work ethic, especially during a time when everyone is checking out, is crucial for distinguishing yourself as someone worthy of recruitment. This doesn’t mean denying yourself a holiday break and family time, but it does mean going out of your way, in little ways, to make vocational strides. This can mean meeting a potential employer for coffee (or perhaps a zoom meeting), wishing people in your network a happy holiday, or submitting your application to a prospective job ahead of the herd. In simpler words, by networking when nobody else is, you’ve got a better chance of making a strong impression.

For more information about interview prep, resume building, and general career coaching contact me.

Why Successful People Need a Business Coach in Toronto

Why Successful People Need a Business Coach in Toronto

Business Coach in Toronto with client

Brian Epstein is a business coach in Toronto and has helped many entrepreneurs and small businesses get to the next level. Many businesses, large and small, are based in Canada’s largest city. Read more to find out why he recommends that all business owners and executives use a business coach to increase their likelihood of success.

Why do executives and entrepreneurs needs a business coach in Toronto?

A common trait among the most successful people in business is that they recognize that they are not perfect. No matter the level of success that they reached in their careers and how profitable their companies have become, they acknowledge that they can be better leaders. They know that there are always opportunities to improve their businesses and achieve greater profitability.

That is why the very best leaders in the industry see the value of what a business coach in Toronto can do for them. Successful business leaders, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs, have relied heavily on the support of multiple coaches and mentors to give feedback and objective advice. This support makes business leaders accountable leaders and helps them achieve their goals. Often successful business leaders refer to their coaches and mentors, as their own personal “Board of Directors”.

Why are more business leaders use coaching today?

In recent years, Canadian business has been thriving. The nation is fast becoming a global leader in a variety of business sectors. However, with rapid changes in the Canadian and world economy, many senior executives fear that there may be an impending leadership crisis.

The job of making high level decisions in a business organization has never been more challenging and stressful. Shifts in the market are happening very quickly and everything has become more complex. In today’s business climate, business owners and leaders are under enormous stress as they deal with the pandemic. The fast-paced evolution of information technology, the fickleness of a very youthful workforce, and the financial commitments that face leaders and their organizations, add to the stress and increased legal scrutiny that organizations endure.

Business leaders who feel that they can fly solo and handle their commitments without the support of others, will often quickly burn out. Chronic job burnout leads to high-levels of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion and impact their behavior at work in a significant way. Burnout across executive and senior management may cause issues for any business that relies heavily on the competence of their top executives.

More and more entrepreneurs and executives are working with a business coach in Toronto to help them have effective leadership skills and optimal performance. In the small business sector alone, a recent joint study by Infusionsoft, a leading vendor of sales and marketing software to small and mid-sized businesses) and Emergent Research (a research facility and consulting firm also focused on small businesses), revealed that owners of startups and small businesses are increasingly using coaches for overcoming challenges. The study “Defining and Achieving Small Business Success,“ reported that almost all respondents admit to using one or more coaching resources to help them overcome their business and personal challenges.

How can a Business Coach help you?

Business coaches have become an integral part of Canada’s business sector by playing a key role in providing business with support to leaders and their teams. This two-way relationship between executive and coach can offer many benefits no matter what stage their business may be in.

Business and Executive Coaches Can:

  • Provide education and training to help executives and their employees improve, overcome challenges, learn new skills and deal with complexity.
  • Provide the outside perspective you need to help you think outside of the box so you can keep on bringing in fresh ideas that will increase profitability.
  • Identify blind spots and roadblocks and hold you accountable in achieving your goals. You will be tasked to go beyond your comfort zone.
  • Provide guidance when you are feeling really “stuck” and having trouble in moving forward. This guidance can help you to connect the dots and go from point A to point B to get to the next level in your business.
  • Provide objective assessment and observations to help you enhance your self-awareness and build relationships with others. They can help you work in developing self-mastery in professional relationship management and communication skills. They can help you create a more healthy and productive work environment, which will enhance the productivity of your employees.
  • Help you identify and learn new and innovative techniques to stay abreast of the latest trends.
  • Provide training and education to develop both executives and promising up-and-comers, to build future leaders and prevent turnover.
  • Provide advice to help you re-evaluate priorities, take stock of what is really important and decide what actions to focus on as you reach a new level of success.

In a report by the market research firm IBISWorld, business owner Noel Theodosiou describes how a professional Business Coach has helped her performance and growth over the years, “I would attribute a lot of my success to the way that coaching has changed my perspective and made some things easier and made me prioritize my emotional energy and my time.”

business coach in toronto speaking to an audience

Do companies and executives get value from business coaches?

Engaging the services of a business coach in Toronto, can prove to be a worthwhile investment. In a report by Canadian research firm IBISWorld published in July 2017, the demand for business coaching in corporate Canada has grown over the past five years – it is expected to continue to grow in the next five years as conditions for business improve. Updated data shows that the increased demand business coaches, comes from senior executives and management.

This rising demand simply shows that business coaching does work and can help business owners and executives get better results. The connection is simple:

Business Coach = Business Owner / Leader Efficiency = Business Profitability

The job of an entrepreneur, CEO or other high performing individuals, in a fast-paced environment, is very unique. The position requires more than simply “calling the shots.”

These leaders must have a thick skin, take criticism well and not be easily upset or insulted. They must be able to accept quality feedback to ensure that their business reach its objectives.

Another important trait that managers and executives need, is to be able to make empowered decisions. Leaders a are often the final decision makers, therefore it is important to react to market conditions swiftly and to make sure that those decisions are aligned with the business’s mission, vision, values, and goals.

So how can a Business Coach in Toronto support and Corporate Leaders and Business Owners?

Business coaches can help executives be more effective in developing the skills and competencies they need to ensure that they have the ability to address the challenges and opportunities that come with their jobs.

Many businesses and organizations across Toronto are now making business coaching a core part of their leadership development programs. The key decision makers use business coaching as a tool to develop current and future leaders. This is because coaching focuses on the development of skills and their application for better results.

Hiring a business coach is an investment that will continue to yield a return on investment for many years. According to an ICF Global Coaching Client Study, ROI for business coaching is very high – usually as high as a six-fold return in the form of improved work performance and productivity, as well as improved business management and team effectiveness.

Regardless if you are a small business owner or a top executive in one of the Fortune Global 500 Canada Companies, it is important to use the services of coach to develop the planning, time management and decision making competencies of business leaders and managers.

Now that you have taken the time to read this article, I hope your ready to take your business to the next level by utilizing a leading business coach. I encourage you to take the first step and set up a 30-minute call. Your success is just a call away.

TO learn more, book an appointment with brian now!

Job Search Advice from The Success Coach

Job Search Advice from The Success Coach

As featured on DIVINE

People just starting their careers are impacted by COVID. People who were climbing the executive ladder are impacted too and so are people who aren’t ready to retire yet. With companies downsizing, sending some of their workforces off-shore, it has never been more important to stand out. We recently sat down with career coach, Brian Epstein AKA “The Success Coach” to get the inside scoop on the steps that you need to take in your job search. Epstein, a career management and leadership coach with over 20 years of experience, shared his tips to help in your job search:

Networking and How to Find That Network

Networking is important because statistically, you have between 65%-85% greater chance of getting a job. People feel more comfortable hiring someone that has been referred to them. That personal connection builds trust with the person that is hiring.

Whether you have lived in Canada or have recently immigrated, you can build a network through friends and personal contacts. If you are new to the country, there are people within your own community who may be able to help you in your job search. Remember, you are speaking with people all the time. They don’t have to be part of a formal network. It can be someone from your apartment that you chat with on a regular basis. Be open, for example, you can state that, “I am an IT professional and I’m interested in learning more about what’s going on in that field. Do you know anyone who works in that field that can provide me with more information?”

By speaking to more people, you can find out more about what’s happening in your field. People in your network can help spread the word that you are looking for a job and maybe able to provide the connection that you need in your job search.

Building Your Resume for ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and for Hiring Managers

Make a T-Chart or use Word or Excel table. On the left-hand side list what the employer is looking for if there is a job description available. On the right-hand side, list the skills that you have and try to make a match with what you have done in your past and how it fits with that specific role. If there isn’t a job description, speak to people and build that network. Try to find people that work or have worked in that particular company or in that industry. They may be able to provide some insights into the key attributes that are most important in hiring for that position.

There are online tools that people can use to find the ideal keywords for resumes. You can add in the job description and it will tell you the percentage of the match between you and your prospective job. If the percentage is too low, you can change some of the wording or review the description again. You can look at sites that give you insight into ATS tools like Jobscan as well.

Tips for Creating Your Cover Letter

Sometimes people actually provide too much detail in their cover letter. Keep in mind that we are living in a fast-paced world and people want things brief. Epstein recommends having four paragraphs:

  1. A brief introduction of what skills that you have and why you are excited about the position. Make sure that you express that passion and enthusiasm in the introductory paragraph
  2. Go into more detail about your skill-set versus what the job is asking for. Then, stress how your experience makes you the right fit for the role
  3. Do research about the company and the industry restating that you understand what the company’s core values are. Then, reinforce how their values align with your own
  4. The final paragraph should include that you would welcome the opportunity to meet at a suitable date to discuss the role

Refer back to the job description to ensure that you are hitting the keywords. Be careful not to copy and paste everything verbatim from the description. You want to have a match but not have all of the wording be the exactly the same.

LinkedIn – What You Need to Know

One of the biggest mistakes that people make with Linked In is just copying and pasting their resume. Recruiters and hiring managers want to see a narrative of your background. On a resume, you shouldn’t use personal pronouns. On LinkedIn, however, you can be more personal in your background. The background should give very high-level details about you. That way, if a potential employer reads nothing else, they get a good sense of what you have accomplished in your career.

Underneath each position that you held, give an overview of your accomplishments, key strengths and skills that employers would be interested in. Remember, statistically, 93%-94% of employers will research you online and LinkedIn is one of the top places that they will look. LinkedIn may be even more important than your resume in getting you that job. People often Google candidates to see what comes up. LinkedIn is almost always at the top of the search results.

Acing a Virtual Interview

Focus on having good eye contact. Remember, you have to rely on reading facial cues versus body language. Try to make sure that you are looking at the camera instead of trying to look at people’s faces in the computer screen so that it doesn’t appear that you are looking down. Choose a professional looking background. If you can, make sure that your phones are off and that there are no other disruptions.

Are Thank You Notes Essential?

They are and outside of the pandemic, it is nice to send one by regular post. It’s really important to send an email within the first 24 hours after your interview. Reiterate your skills and experience in the thank you note and why you are the right fit for this role.

To learn more, or to book a consultation, visit or follow Brian Epstein on Instagram.

Originally published JULY 6, 2021 by JILL SCHNEIDERMAN

Job Search Advice from The Success Coach

The New Business Landscape: Keeping Your Distance

The New Business Landscape: Keeping Your Distance

The new business landscape that we are in, has an awful lot of us separated in our togetherness. Working remotely is the new norm, rather than the luxury or rarity it once was. But how do we prepare for this new reality?

Key Learnings

In this April 26, 2020 article, there are two things of note:

1) A Norwegian economist study estimating that about 36% of jobs can realistically be performed from home.

2) A recent PWC study showed that about half of businesses expect a dip in productivity during the pandemic due to a lack of remote work capabilities.

Additionally, 56% of companies worldwide allow remote work (to whatever degree). A recent survey of 5,700 Harvard Business School alumni found that 52% believe the typical company will employ fewer workers three years from now.

Many of us are still in shock in the wake of this huge human tragedy. At the outset of the pandemic, stock markets plunged to dizzying depths. A global recession was in the making and our future is still uncertain. We are still feeling the ramifications of Magna International Inc.’s 2020 outlook, withdrawn because of the “high degree of business uncertainty” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Business Reality

Many businesses are now almost unrecognizable in how they operate in this fast-changing and uncertain time. Working remotely creates a need for new processes. This is to adjust and adapt to a world in a digital-first economy with new efficiencies. Along with the changing processes, new experts will have to coach people on adapting to the new technology that will be part of their day-to-day.

“Because the tech world has the highest saturation of knowledge-based workers and due to the type of tasks that they complete, they’ve been able to accelerate and incubate remote work at a higher saturation level than other industries,” remote-work strategist Laurel Farrer said in a recent article, So what we can now do, says Farrer, is take the best practices and strategies of those fully-distributed companies, and adapt and share them with other industries.

Even tech experts need advice for best practices in our ever-changing world. The new business reality is that we so dependent on tech, demands have become greater and business strategies will need to adapt.

The new business landscape makes this a challenging time for you and your company. Would you like to create a plan and develop the right strategy to help your business thrive?

Contact me to learn more!

Good For Business: AI and the Human Factor

Good For Business: AI and the Human Factor

Alternative Intelligence Benefits Employees

You are likely finding that you and your business have become more reliant on technology. You may also find, like the tech industry did, that remote work is less expensive and more efficient with average savings of $11,000 on a part-time basis alone.

It makes economic sense to outfit workplaces so that employees can work remotely. Many companies are already using IT services to ensure that their employees are able to work from home. I recently spoke to my cell provider, FIDO and learned that most of the company’s customer service representatives in Montreal are now working from home rather than from the company’s offices. These employees are using new digital platforms, systems, services and processes. Employees need to learn new skills to work with the new technology. The changes in how services are being offered to their clients are creating new employment and contract opportunities for existing workers and new hires.

Flexibility in the Workplace

Flexibility, resourcefulness and creativity are what workplaces need. Look at how companies have gone beyond their own identities to make critical items during the pandemic. Distilleries churning out hand sanitizer and clothing companies making reusable cloth masks are just a couple of examples of how companies were flexible in proactively responding to COVID-19. Technology helps to make the changes possible, but it is the people who see the needs and power the workplaces.

An April 27, 2020, article focuses on how Microsoft and its partners are “helping to transform the manufacturing industry by putting people firmly at the centre.” The article shows how artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) are bringing in a new era of collaboration between people and technology.

Alternative Intelligence not Intended to Replace Humans

According to Microsoft’s Future Computed study, much of the AI technology created is not intended to replace humans, but to help them to increase productivity, and collaboration and to enable better and faster decision-making. We can say the same about collaborative and cloud technology like Zoom, Teams, Office 365, Remote Assist, Skype, Skype Translator and HoloLens.

But what about the prediction that machines and workplace algorithms will gut 75 million jobs by 2022? The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs report suggests technology can also create 133 million new roles. AI helps open up employment opportunities and leading global companies know it will help them attract top talent as well as boost existing worker output.

It is difficult not to see that digital technology is changing business in so many ways as well as being the catalyst for new business models, products, services and experiences, says Colin Masson global industry director, manufacturing solutions at Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise. “But people are at the heart of successful digital transformation, and the most successful manufacturers will be those that transform and empower a changing workforce with the skills they need to thrive in the digital economy.”

This is exciting and encouraging for all of us. There’s more to come on the subjects of working remotely, AI and human technology.

Contact me to learn more.