Layoffs are an unfortunate reality in today’s dynamic business environment. When companies must reduce their workforce, it sends shockwaves throughout the organization. Layoffs are difficult experiences not only for the employees who lose their jobs but also for the employees who remain.
After a layoff, it’s crucial for companies to have strong support systems in place for their remaining employees. The layoff survivors experience a wide range of emotions including anxiety, anger, sadness, and guilt. They take on expanded workloads and responsibilities. Morale and engagement often decline.
That’s why providing adequate support after layoffs should be a top priority for remaining employees. This investment in retaining key talent pays off through strengthened loyalty, engagement and performance.
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Why Support is Crucial After Layoffs For Remaining Employees?
There are several important reasons why companies need to prioritize support for remaining employees following a layoff process.
- Layoffs create anxiety and uncertainty among remaining employees about their job security and the company’s future. This hinders engagement, morale, and productivity.
- Employees feel stressed and overworked as they take on more responsibilities from eliminated positions. Without support, they may burn out or leave the company.
- Company culture and team unity suffer after layoffs. Supporting employees through this transition helps rebuild loyalty and relationships.
- Layoffs damage employee morale, satisfaction, and engagement. Providing support to remaining employees curbs turnover risk and retains top talent.
- Employees experience complex emotions like sadness, anger, and guilt after colleagues lose jobs. They need help processing these feelings.
- Open communication and compassion demonstrate the company still cares about people, not just profits.
- Support programs provide stability amid disruption and change. This drives resilience, performance, and success on the other side.
How to Provide Support After Layoffs For Remaining Employees?
1. Provide Transparency and Communication
After a layoff, it’s imperative for leaders to provide transparency and frequent communication to remaining employees. Be open about the business factors that led to job cuts and what the strategy is moving forward.
Sharing context helps employees understand the rationale behind difficult decisions. Make yourself available to answer questions and address concerns honestly and compassionately. Don’t sugarcoat the challenges ahead but do emphasize the strengths and opportunities the company still has. Admit when you don’t have all the answers yet and pledge to keep employees updated.
Encourage managers to check in one-on-one with each direct report. This consistent communication relieves uncertainty and anxiety during turbulent times. Listen to feedback and acknowledge the human impacts of layoffs.
In all communication, aim to provide hope by shining a light on a positive path ahead. Transparency and compassion will go far in retaining your remaining employees and starting to rebuild the company culture after layoffs.
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2. Provide Career Development Resources
For remaining employees affected by layoffs, provide ample career development resources. Expand access to online training courses and tuition reimbursement. Remind employees about skills training and mentoring opportunities within the organization.
Provide time for employees to work on professional development plans. Offer guidance on mapping out career paths and goals aligned to the company’s evolving needs. Assure that even amid layoffs, there are still opportunities to learn, grow and advance their careers internally. Investing in development demonstrates you still see a future with your employees. It empowers them to evolve their skills along with the changing needs of the organization.
3. Offer Outplacement Services
Providing outplacement services demonstrates care for employees even as they exit the organization. Outplacement includes assistance with resume writing, interview skills, and networking. It helps departing staff find new positions quickly. Consider contracting external specialists or utilising internal HR experts to deliver outplacement support. Make services available for several months post-layoff so former employees can get back on their feet.
Outplacement is an invaluable benefit that cushions the blow of a layoff. It preserves the employer brand and sets former employees up for future success. When companies invest in outplacement, they uphold positive relationships with alumni. This builds goodwill and your reputation as an employer that does right by staff, even after layoffs.
4. Offer Mental Health Support
Layoffs can take a significant toll on remaining employees’ mental health. Feelings of anxiety, grief, stress, and burnout are common. Make sure managers are aware of signs like absenteeism, lack of focus, and irritability that may indicate a worker is struggling. Encourage employees to take advantage of mental health benefits and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that provide counselling and therapy resources.
Consider bringing in grief counsellors or therapists to meet with employees in groups or one-on-one to help them work through the range of emotions that accompany layoffs. Promote self-care by reminding staff to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and make time for activities they enjoy.
Share techniques for stress management like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or journaling. Keep an eye out for increased alcohol consumption or other unhealthy coping mechanisms employees may turn to. The more support, resources, and alternatives the company provides, the better-equipped employees will be to preserve their mental well-being after a traumatic event like layoffs. You can check out the American Psychological Association guide on coping with stress article for more details on how to implement it.
5. Maintain a Positive Relationship
Layoffs strain relationships between leaders and employees. It’s crucial to reestablish trust through transparency, honest communication, and compassion. Admit past mistakes and demonstrate commitment to rebuilding the organization responsibly.
Express genuine care for each person’s well-being and future. Where possible, provide former employees and departing staff feel respected and appreciated. This preserves your employer brand and future talent pipeline. When companies maintain positive relationships amid challenges like layoffs, they lay the foundation for future success.
6. Recognize Contributions
During a stressful transition like layoffs, it’s important to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of remaining employees. With smaller teams and increased workloads, they’re under more pressure. Celebrate wins and progress made in this difficult period to bolster morale.
Provide frequent words of affirmation and appreciation for those going above and beyond. Consider spot bonuses or gift cards for exceptional efforts. Even small tokens of gratitude can encourage loyalty when spirits are low.
Look for opportunities to publicly praise individuals and teams for rallying together and supporting each other during challenging times. Share positive feedback from clients and customers praising the staff’s commitment to excellent work despite layoffs. Find ways to tangibly reward loyalty, flexibility and hard work as the company navigates the changes.
Employees need to know their efforts are seen and valued. Taking time for recognition, even virtually, boosts engagement and morale after layoffs. It reminds everyone that progress is still happening.
Article you might be intrested in: Employee Retention
7. Be Flexible and Listen
After a layoff, employees’ needs and preferences may change. Be flexible and accommodate requests for altered schedules, temporary remote work, or different responsibilities where possible. Employees may appreciate flex hours to pursue education, spend time with family, or transition to retirement. Listen closely to their needs and how the company can help.
Make yourself accessible through open office hours, anonymous surveys, and town hall Q&As. Solicit suggestions on what additional support employees require to be successful in the post-layoff environment. Then demonstrate you are listening by implementing feasible ideas.
Keep tabs on workloads and adjust assignments if teams are struggling. Check in frequently as needs may evolve over time after layoffs. Continually adapt to changes in priorities and capacity. When companies treat employees as partners in navigating challenges, they cultivate agility and resilience. A willingness to listen and collaborate signals faith in employees as the organization’s most valuable asset both during and after a crisis like layoffs.
8. Encourage Peer Support
Employees need support from leaders, but they also need support from each other. Encourage employees to check in with colleagues who may be struggling after layoffs. Provide space for team bonding and open conversations about their experiences.
Enable employees to cover for one another when needed by allowing schedule flexibility. Celebrate examples of employees supporting each other through challenges. Peer support enhances resilience and solidarity during difficult transitions like layoffs. Know that your employees can often provide each other the empathy and community needed to heal and move forward.
Layoffs generate a whirlwind of change and uncertainty across organizations. However, the companies who make every effort to support their remaining employees through the transition are most apt to come out stronger on the other side.
While job cuts are always painful, they don’t have to be permanently damaging. With ample empathy and support, companies can thoughtfully reorganize and move forward. When businesses invest in their people as their most valuable asset, they gain the agility and dynamism required to evolve and succeed in any economic circumstance.
The companies that emerge as leaders are those that never lose sight of their people, even in the most difficult moments like layoffs. By uplifting and empowering their workforce, they build a foundation to prosper far into the future.
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Why is support important after layoffs?
Support helps retain remaining employees, upholds morale, reduces uncertainty, and rebuilds loyalty and engagement during a difficult transition.
What outplacement services should we provide to laid-off employees?
Offer job search assistance, resume review, interview coaching, networking opportunities, severance pay, and career counselling.
How can we support the mental health of remaining employees?
Offer counselling, encourage the use of EAP programs, promote self-care, watch for signs of stress, and provide mental health benefits.
What should we communicate to the remaining employees after layoffs?
Share the business context, be transparent about changes, show care and empathy, provide hope, and pledge to keep employees updated.
How can we help rebuild company culture following layoffs?
Foster open communication, listen to input, be flexible to employee needs, focus on positivity, and provide opportunities for team building.
What are some low-cost ways to support employees after layoffs?
Recognize contributions, extend flexibility, adjust workloads, provide extra time off, offer peer mentoring programs, and simply check in often.
How can managers best support their teams after layoffs?
Have frequent one-on-ones, listen to concerns, provide reassurance, give words of affirmation, watch for stress, and accommodate needs.