HR pros are stressed about retention amid layoffs. And for some industries, it feels like layoffs have been happening left and right. Retaining the rest of your employees means supporting them and finding new ways to boost morale. If you’re seeking ways to do so, here are five tips for you!
1. Address lingering anxiety
Employees that survive layoffs tend to have lingering feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Address this by reassuring them their jobs are safe. Once all the layoffs are complete, let them know so they can be at ease. Facilitate open discussions either one on one or in small teams so employees can express how they are feeling. You’ll also have an opportunity to squash any false rumors or misconceptions that come up.
2. Be honest about the “why”
While keeping quiet before layoffs is typically necessary, it should be the opposite after the fact. Communicate reasoning behind layoffs with your employees. Be as transparent as you can while respecting the privacy of those laid off. This may include explaining why certain positions are now obsolete or showing financial projections with and without layoffs. Try to have these conversations in person rather than only sending an email so that people can ask follow-up questions.
3. Redistribute workloads
After the initial shock of layoffs, one key cause of stress for remaining team members is a bigger workload. Some employees may have to absorb their former colleagues’ workloads or certain tasks. Ideally, form plans for how to distribute and manage workloads of employees that will be laid off before the layoffs are actually conducted. Be clear in communicating how each individuals’ duties will change to avoid any confusion.
4. Check in frequently
Even if you create a plan for workloads, you may still need to reassess and adjust as necessary. Your team may not speak up about being overwhelmed – but that’s where frequent check-ins come in. Take a moment during weekly one-on-one meetings to ask how new responsibilities are being managed. Create an environment in which people feel they can voice concerns without being penalized. It’s important that they feel they can share when they’re feeling overworked.
5. Help teams connect
Once layoffs have been conducted, teams may have changed and could be smaller than before. Smaller teams present the opportunity to foster deeper connections. Make time for team building through lunches and other activities. Offer ways your employees can connect with one another on a daily basis through a digital employee engagement platform. Features like personal user profiles are fun and meaningful ways new teams can get to know one another.
The reality is that layoffs are difficult for everyone. But leaders need to recognize the feelings and accommodate the needs of employees still in their workforce. It takes reassurance, open communication, planning, check-ins, and connection. And, of course, showing your people how much you care!