If you are like most managers, you can admit that laying off employees is one of the hardest parts of the job. The aftermath is even more grueling having to deal with stressed out and anxious employees. There is the mourning phase where employees have to deal with the gap left by people they held dear. Then comes the longer hours and increased workloads while dealing with the fear of whether they will be next. Employee morale goes down and so does productivity.
However, layoffs are sometimes inevitable for a company to move forward. The economy can sometimes dictate it, like the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. It could also be technological advancements rendering some positions redundant.
Whatever leads to layoffs, it is important to ensure that surviving employees remain engaged, collaborative, and happy. Here are 5 ways to boost their morale after layoffs.
1. Explain the reasons
Layoff plans happen in closed doors, and it is okay to avoid creating anxiousness prematurely. However, these plans should be laid bare for all to see when it is finally implemented. Employees start gossiping and spreading false rumors as soon as they get wind of the news about layoffs. If you dwell in secrecy, these misconceptions can continue to create a toxic culture that can be hard to mend.
It is important that you communicate with honesty and transparency of the reasons why it had to happen. You can start by sending out an email to employees especially where you don’t have all employees working under the same roof. If you have employees hired in China, for instance, or anywhere abroad, utilize China PEO services to communicate this to them. However, be sure to follow it up with a company-wide meeting so that employees can hear it directly from the horse’s mouth. Here’s additional information: Small Business Communication to Ease Anxiety During Coronavirus.
2. Assure them of job security
Job insecurities often arise with layoffs. It is natural for employees to get anxious and wonder about the security of their positions or department. Employees can’t feel committed to working optimally when they are in fear of losing their jobs.
Addressing anxiety and insecurities is paramount if you are to boost employees’ morale. Reassure your employees that their jobs are safe. You can go a step further to demonstrate the importance of the remaining positions to the company goals. Employees will feel safe and valued knowing that their contribution to the bigger picture is needed.
3. Up your people skills
The period surrounding layoffs is a time where managers’ people skills are put to the test. Employees will have so many questions; you need to heighten your listening skills to pick even what is not being said. This is how you will be able to address individual concerns.
In addition, employees are bound to slack off and lower their productivity. You need to understand that they are adjusting and be more forgiving. Respect their feelings and allow them time to process their feelings. Be compassionate and continue assuring them that all will be well. Our article, 9 Effective Ways to Improve Employee Performance has more ideas to incorporate.
4. Address extra workloads
Another stressor that comes with layoffs is the realization that the remaining employees have to absorb the workload left by the former colleagues. The thought of increased workload and probably longer hours is enough to push these employees to the edge and can lead to people considering exiting the company.
It is important to come up with a plan to redistribute the tasks. You might also need to rethink deadlines to avoid overworking them. If the budget allows, you can consider hiring temporary help to help with the extra load. If there is a way that you can take some tasks off their schedule, then by all means do so until things normalize.
5. Rebuild trust and employee engagement
After restructuring, employees might be needed to work with people they have never worked with before. It is also possible for layoffs to affect the people who were the life of social relationships in the workplace. In addition, people who trusted the workplace could start distrusting after their social security is taken away from them.
In this case, it is important to rebuild trust and engagement after the dust has died down. You can start by holding one on one weekly check-ins to know how they are faring. In addition, bring employees together in team-building activities. You can ask for their suggestions so they don’t feel pressured.
Layoffs are sometimes inevitable for an organization, especially during this 2020 pandemic. However, it is wise to structure them where the company and employees are likely to suffer less. For instance, you can implement them when there are no major projects or deadlines going on.
This way, the company doesn’t suffer due to underperformance, employees are happier, and aren’t bombarded with the pressure to work harder due to extra workloads. Here are more reasons to use strategies to spark happiness: Happy Employees Happy Customers: How to Make This Happen.
About the Author
Petunia is a business consultant with experience in business management and HR services. In her free time, she loves to learn more about SEO through SEOforX, and spend time outdoors with her family. Right now, she is focused on sharing her expertise with a wider audience through her writing.