How To Motivate After Layoffs 

Layoffs are not fun for anyone, past employees and present alike. The employees who were let go are thought of first when dismissals occur, but what about the current employees? Many employees still working at a company post-layoff feel fear and confusion going forward. Questions such as “will I be next” and “is my job safe” loom in their head. Companies need to focus on the positive while remaining transparent in communication; this will help avoid fear and rumor spreading among remaining employees. Keep reading to understand other ways companies can help motivate remaining employees after layoffs. 

how to motivate employees after layoffs

Rebuild Trust

In the days and weeks following a big layoff, companies must focus on rebuilding the trust between the remaining employees and management. Rebuilding trust is a key element in motivating employees after layoffs. Employees will likely be feeling frustrated and scared. Below are three tips to help instill confidence in your employees: 

  1. Do not share your fears with employees. While this may seem like a good idea, it can hurt trust as it takes away from inspirational leadership (what they need). 
  2. Connect with employees individually and as a group. Connecting with employees includes listening to the fears of employees. Listening to employees’ fears can help leadership understand what employees need going forward. 
  3. Focus on a plan of action. Letting layoff survivors know that the company has a plan can help ease fear and rebuild any trust that might have been lost during layoffs. 
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Communication is Key

Making communication a priority between leaders and remaining workers during post-layoffs is significant for employee morale. Being candid about how the company will move forward is helpful to employees. Not only does honesty help ease people’s fears, but it can also invoke a sense of trust among employees and leadership. Here are four ways to effectively communicate with your employees after layoffs. 

Frequent Meetings

As stated earlier, don’t leave your employees hanging after a layoff. Hold frequent (and informational) meetings to help them understand what is happening with the company. These meetings should be anxiety-reducing and offer information about changes affecting employees. Make sure to get these meetings done before rumors start. 

Focus on the Facts

When planning meetings, be aware of any rumors spreading among the employees. Focus on the facts of the layoffs and the following information: 

  • Why are the layoffs taking place?

Letting employees know the truth about why the layoffs occur may seem scary, but it is essential and can help current employees process any fears or emotions they may be feeling. 

  • How many people were affected?

This is a great and straightforward way to be honest, and give information about the layoffs without implementing any more concern or fear. 

  • How were layoff decisions made?

Letting employees know the layoff process and how decisions were made is helpful to the remaining employees. It can help them navigate through any survivor’s guilt they may be feeling and ease fears about the future. 

  • How will the company be affected?

Of course, this is a significant question everyone will be asking, or at least a version of it. Employees want to know how their job will be protected and affected. Let them know the positive effects of the anticipated layoffs and workplace changes. 

Allow Questions

Inevitably, employees will have questions after informational meetings. Allowing for these questions will help foster a more positive workplace moving forward and ease employees’ anxiety. Be aware that these questions can range from emotional to practical. 

Continue Check-Ins

After a layoff, big or small, it is vital to the company and employees that check-ins occur regularly. These check-ins should cover workloads (some employees may have a more significant workload than others, try to even out the load). Additionally, some employees may have received new tasks and work post-layoff that they may need training on. Frequent check-ins help employees feel safe post-layoff and can positively affect employee motivation.

Focus On The Present and Future

It is inevitable that some employees will be focusing on the past and why layoffs occurred, who was let go, etc. Focusing on the present and future is a vital next step for companies post-layoffs. It helps ease anxieties, moves the company in a positive direction, and reduces rumors from spreading. Below are three steps companies can take to move forward and help motivate employees after layoffs. 

Refocus on the Company’s Vision

During times of layoff crisis, having remaining staff, management, and leadership come together and refocus can be very helpful. A layoff brings many changes and restructuring for a company. Taking time to refocus on the company’s vision and what leadership (and employees) would like to see moving forward is helpful for everyone and gives people a positive goal to work on. A company’s vision can greatly impact company culture. To understand more about what company culture is and its effects, read here

Involve Employees in Setting New Goals/Priorities

Along with refocusing the company’s vision, involving employees in setting new goals and priorities is a great motivator. Meeting frequently and having surveys/Q&A sessions where employees can voice their opinions helps them feel heard and valued. The remaining employees can help give beneficial ideas for improving the company moving forward. Allowing remaining staff to provide ideas is also an excellent time for employees to set career goals. 

Restate Roles

Post-layoff is an excellent time for any restructuring of roles and ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding what their job entails. The remaining employees may feel nervous about whether their job is safe, so letting them know precisely what is expected of them is a crucial step in helping them feel secure.  

5 Tips For Employee Retention 

Not only are remaining staff members worried after layoffs, but leaders and human resources can also be concerned about employee retention post-layoff. Focusing on employee retention is another crucial step for leaders after a large layoff. Here are five tips leaders and HR personnel can take: 

Encourage Positive and Effective Management

Help team leads and management stay positive with employees during this time. This means that management will need to be provided with time and tools to help support their employees while avoiding burnout themselves. 

Focus on Benefits Aside From Pay

While a paycheck is a very motivating factor for employees to stay, other benefits of the job are also vital. Employees who work in a positive work environment, where they may be offered different incentives (an at-work gym, good break times, paid lunches occasionally, etc.), are more likely to want to stay at the company. 

Prevent Employee Burnout

Remaining staff members may feel a larger workload post-layoff; this is the time to ensure that everyone is taking breaks and personal time as needed to prevent burnout. Encourage employees to take lunches, breaks, and a personal day here and there. 

Take Action on Employee Feedback

If employees are giving feedback, companies need to take action on these suggestions. This does not mean that each suggestion needs to be enforced, but management and team leads can at least address the suggestion, so employees feel heard. 

Exercise “Stay” Interviews 

A stay interview is between management (or possibly human resources) and employees to review multiple points of interest. These points could include the following: 

  • What do you enjoy about your job?
  • What is a goal you’re currently working on?
  • How can management help you achieve this goal? 
  • What is something that the company can work on?
  • What is something management can work on? 
  • What are some challenges you are facing with your current job? 

Conducting stay interviews helps management understand employees’ perspectives and struggles and allows the employees to feel valued and heard. This also helps management and team leads best utilize employee talents. 

Read this article if you want to learn more tips for employee retention. 

Moving Forward 

Layoffs are brutal on everyone, but it doesn’t have to be the end all for your company. Following a plan and focusing on the future can motivate remaining employees and restore their trust in the company. To learn more about how to improve morale after layoffs, check out this article. Additionally, read here for seven epic layoff failures and learn more about avoiding issues during layoffs and company restructuring. Hopefully with these tips and careful planning, leaders can help motivate employees after layoffs.  

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