Hello Church Personnel Committees: Holiday Edition

The holidays are a terrible time to learn that you are being laid off. But Re-Organizing = Personnel Changes, whether we are re-organizing to save money or to staff for a new way of being the Church.

Reading about the plight of 14,000 General Motors employees who recently learned that the automobiles they’ve been building will no longer be built is painful, especially when the news was announced openly in the press prior to telling those employees.  Ouch.

Even in non-profits and especially in church settings – we do not always treat our paid employees in a way that resembles gentle Jesus meek and mild.

It’s important to treat God’s people with respect – especially if we hope to be who we say we are as People of Faith.  Here are a couple of tips that reflect healthy leadership when the church is reorganizing:

  • Tell employees personally that they are being laid off before announcing it publicly via email or Big Meeting. (For the love of God.)
  • Tell staff members personally if someone on the staff is retiring or leaving before announcing it publicly via email or a Big Meeting. (It helps makes the staff feel like they are more than “the hired help” or an afterthought.)
  • Include staff in discussions about re-organizing the church prior to making big decisions. Although they might disagree with the plans, they won’t be caught off guard and they might have some helpful insights. (From the for profit world: “one of the biggest and most fundamental mistakes companies make is failing to engage people, or at least forgetting to do so early enough in the process.“)

Simple actions that help our colleagues feel appreciated and respected – even when we need to reorganize.  A really good article from the business world is Reorganization Without Tears by McKinsey and Company (2016).

Bonus tip for Church Personnel Committees:  honor your staff this Christmas.  They will be working especially hard.

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