No one wants to be involved in having to work through a layoff. Dealing with the aftermath can be just as hard as letting people go. People that have survived the layoff tend to be anxious, bitter, and fearful of their own future within the company.
Believe it or not, regrouping after a layoff can be more difficult than the act of having to let people go.
Here are some tips to help you recover and move forward with the team you have left.
1. Focus on Collaboration
One of the biggest challenges that employers face after a layoff is getting team members to work together again. Fear of being in the next potential round of layoffs instigates a self-preservation mode in individuals.
Team members become competitive and often focus on denigrating their co-workers, hoping that pointing out someone else’s flaws will help to ensure their own future security.
Encourage and reward team members that don’t fall into this pattern of behavior, and take some time to let each individual know that they are valued for their strengths.
2. Renew Efforts to Reduce Turnover
After layoffs, many skilled professionals may begin seeking other employment to preempt falling victim to the next round of layoffs. It’s another self-preservation technique, one that can be detrimental to your recovery.
Losing your highly-skilled employees and top performers is the last thing you need when you’re attempting to rebuild and restructure after a layoff. Whenever possible, make room for promotions and for personal advancement in the wake of a layoff.
It lets them know that they are valued and that you feel that they are critical to the functioning of the company, which can help ease their fears of impending doom.
3. Reward Those Who Remain
If you do lose some of your top talents, take the opportunity to promote and re-engage those who choose to stay. Let them know that you appreciate their commitment and loyalty and that they are critical to rebuilding the organization. Let them feel a sense of ownership in the direction that you are going now, and give them the freedom to implement new ideas.
If you’ve lost some of your super-star employees, those who may have previously been overshadowed may now feel better about expressing their ideas.
Encourage creativity and listen to their ideas. It will help them to feel more secure and confident in the company, as well as their own future within it.
4. Focus on Your Managers
The number one reason that people voluntarily leave a company state that their reasons often relate to poor managers. When you’re already experiencing the instability of a layoff and higher-than-normal turnover, poor managers are just one more thing to add to the list of reasons to seek employment elsewhere.
Before you begin your layoffs and restructuring, you should take a good look at your managers and focus on keeping the ones who have good relationships with their people. They are the ones who are going to keep things sailing smoothly after the disruption.
5. Give Them Time to Refocus
Understand that a layoff causes a great deal of stress for everyone, and know that you’re going to experience a period of low productivity.
Gossip, whispers, rumors, and “survivors guilt” will be pervasive for a time. Trust will be damaged, and people will need to adjust to the new normal.
Lower your expectations and give them time to grieve while remaining compassionate towards those who are struggling to regain their footing. Above all else, make sure that management shares in the grief. Nothing will damage morale faster than seeing those farther up the ladder enjoying success while others suffer.
If you can focus on helping the survivors feel secure in their jobs and let them know that they are valued, you can help to improve the attitude and morale of your team moving forward.
How Can Leaders Boost Their Team’s Spirit After a Layoff?
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