When a business closes, it is not only difficult for the employees, but for the owners, as well. Writing a farewell letter to workers who have faithfully served the company -- some for years -- is a difficult task. It is best to balance the task of informing employees about the company's demise with practical information so that people can take the necessary steps to make this difficult transition as pain-free as possible.
Perhaps the most important part of a farewell letter to employees is the date. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act requires employers with more than 100 workers to provide a minimum of 60 days notice to employees so that they have the transition time they need to seek other employment. If your company has fewer than 100 employees, you will need to check your state's requirements, as many states require smaller companies to give a specified minimum notice, as well.
In your letter, provide employees with an explanation for the closure. This can help to cut down on speculation and gossip. For example, if the company is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, say so, as it is a public filing and employees will find out anyway. Emphasize the company's successes, and thank employees for the hard work they've put in over the years. Let them know you have appreciated their efforts, and express your desire for each employee to experience success and prosperity in the future.
Many employees will immediately be concerned about how they will pay their bills, obtain insurance, and other practical considerations. Include the name and number of the contact person in human resources who handles inquiries about health insurance and who can provide resources to help people who are facing unemployment. Consider including an information sheet along with your letter that gives instructions on how to apply for unemployment once the doors have closed.
The biggest concern for most employees will be obtaining future employment. Let employees know that you will be pleased to provide them with a reference. Provide the contact information they will need to fill out job applications, including your full name, title, address and phone number. Make sure the contact information will continue to be relevant once the business has officially closed. Let employees know that they can contact you with any questions or concerns.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.