In a tough economic climate many employees find themselves concerned about their personal finances, job stability, and of course the rising cost of necessities such as food staples like milk and bread. Although tough economic times may elicit a visceral reaction from individuals faced with stretching an already tight dollar even further, companies too are confronted with the same reality. Whether you are an employee or a business owner you may find yourself asking just how a decision is reached about who gets cut and who stays. The short answer, not easily.

Take for instance employees with the former banking giant, Washington Mutual (WAMU). Since JP Morgan Chase has assumed the former bank, many employees there are very well aware that their position may be in jeopardy. In an effort to pacify concerns and provide newly minted JP Morgan Chase employees with information on what they can expect, JP Morgan hosted a town hall type conference call. Employees had the opportunity to ask management important questions such as if they are laid off, what, if anything, will be provided to them, to if they were not laid off, what they could expect as an employee working for JP Morgan Chase.

The topic of layoffs is to say the least difficult; yet, it is a necessary evil in business. As the market faces an uphill struggle against a recession, more and more companies are being forced to consider laying off portions of their workforce as they ride the erratic, provocative rollercoaster that we know as the “Economy”.

Whether you have been the receiver of news about your position being downsized or the bearer, one commonality shared between both parties is that you cannot elude the difficulties layoffs bring. Departing employees are thrust into a down job market while remaining employees are given more duties and responsibilities to make up for the absence of their former co-workers.

Many former Washington Mutual employees will most likely be finding themselves on the job market in the very near future. However, JP Morgan is providing assistance in locating a new position and giving some healthy severance packages that will hopefully outlast their job search. Although layoffs are certain to remain a very real concern for companies and employees, at least until the market makes a recovery, rather than sit back and wait for the worst to happen, companies should consider following the steps of JP Morgan Chase and communicating with employees.

To the extent possible, companies should share their struggles with their employees to solicit suggestions for improvement. Everyone is well aware that most sectors of the economy are experiencing some type of slowdown, so unless you’re one of the lucky few who’s not, don’t kid your employees. Instead, facilitate a type of town hall meeting like JP Morgan Chase hosted with former WAMU employees and let them know where the company stands (good and bad), what needs to be done to improve profits, and ask for input.