3 Step Guide to Building Employee Morale After a Tragic Layoff

3 Step Guide to Building Employee Morale After a Tragic Layoff
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Layoffs serve to prevent a struggling company from capsizing. But if not done properly, a simple layoff may damage the company more than it saves it.

Layoffs damage the company in terms of lost workforce and massive restructuring but that's just the surface. Deep down, it traumatizes surviving employees even if they don't want to admit it.

Whatever the exact circumstance of the layoff, whether it was announced for months or abrupt, a small layoff of 10 or a massive layoff of 800, it has one thing in common: survivors. "Lucky" employees left to deal with the aftermath of losing their teammates and plowing on ahead despite the uncertainties facing their employer.

For these reasons, it's important to rebuild employee confidence. That is, if you don't want the remaining people in your team to resign before you recover from the layoff.

Rebuilding Confidence after Losing So Many in Your Team

1.Demonstrate the Value of the Survivors
Layoff survivors are often not sure why they 'made it' while their peers didn't. Sure, they have an inkling; a good performance, a not-so-expensive paycheck, and tenure come to mind. But these are nothing but speculations, and until you confirm them, layoff survivors will continue fearing for their future in the company.

Talk to each survivor and explain why they were chosen to remain on the team. Reassure them about their roles in the company and the continuing importance of that role.

Layoff survivors often feel like victims. They now do the jobs of multiple people instead of one, they need to learn new skills and in some cases, take on more responsibility. They need to feel confident about themselves and their future, so they don't cave in from the tremendous pressure of their new responsibilities.

2.Pay Special Attention to Top Performers in Danger of Leaving
What's the common reaction of top performers after a layoff? The obvious answer is they'll take this as a chance to vie for higher office. But not all top performers will react that way. Not everyone is opportunistic. Some top performers get scared, feel uncertain and feel pressured -- they are people, too.

As the boss, you might be tempted to ignore them and just focus on the more 'susceptible' employees. Don't!

Top performers are capable of doing the job of two or more people, because that's what they are. You don't want to lose top talent like that, do you? These people are important if the company is to rise again.

3.Address Changing Workloads
Yes, employees already now that their workload will increase after a layoff. But for how much and how long, that is not certain. You need to address those questions, and then some.

A manager's instinctive reaction is usually to split abandoned tasks into whoever's closest to the previous employee working on that assignment. If Bob was let go, his friends Joe and Mark might share his workload. But that approach isn't always effective. Bob's tasks might be more suitable to someone with more similar skills and training, not just anyone in his team.

Also, asking the employees for new solutions instead of just divvying up tasks automatically shows confidence in layoff survivors. This way, your team can collaborate and innovate at the same time.

www.riklanresources.com | https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelleriklan | @resumewoman
Michelle@riklanresources.com | 1.800.540.3609

Popular in the Community


What's Hot