By: Beth Burgert
Resilience Following a Layoff
When organizations downsize, a period of mourning is sure to follow – not just for those who are laid off but for the remaining employees as well. This “mourning” period as seen from the remaining employee’s perspective can result in poor employee performance, low satisfaction and decreased levels in engagement within the organization; all of which can also have an impact on the teams, the morale of the organization, and the organization’s overall success.
As a leader, here are a few bits of advice to follow that you might find useful in combating the negative aura following a layoff. If you want to maintain high levels of resilience, productivity, morale and SUCCESS within your organization, be sure to consider the following:
- Remain visible, honest, and clear about your expectations. After a layoff, it’s not uncommon to see a shift in roles and responsibilities among the remaining employees. Being present for those who have clarifying questions regarding this shift is critical.
- Maintain an open-door policy. Having an open line of communication is crucial when recovering from a restructuring or layoff. Doing so will have the remaining employees feeling a greater sense of comfort amidst the larger changes that may have impacted their role.
- Demonstrate empathy. When layoffs take place, it’s inevitable that some teams can feel broken and stuck in the mud. Sometimes remaining employees have to bare the loss of a colleague that played an integral role in their everyday schedule, or even some of their closest friends. Giving your remaining employees the comfort in knowing that they can trust you in such a vulnerable time is often a step that is overseen throughout the process.
- Explain challenges and create short-term goals. Being transparent about the situation at hand is healthy for the organization as a whole, and will only help those remaining move forward (maybe even at a quicker than anticipated). Setting realistic short-term goals will help in keeping the spirits high throughout the office and rekindle the positivity flame that may have been burnt out after the layoff.
- Address rumors directly and provide specifics to abolish uncertainty. During a fragile time like this, rumors tend to arise as questions start to bubble up in the minds of those affected. Addressing, and putting rumors to bed as soon as you hear them through the grapevine will alleviate any rising concerns swarming around false statements.
- Highlight success and promote fun. The easy thing to do after a layoff is to let your remaining employees fend for themselves and have them figure everything out on their own. However, the reality is, leaving them high and dry is one of the absolute worst things a manager can do to an employee in a high state of vulnerability. A change in mindset won’t happen overnight, but it’s the effort in promoting a positive and fun environment that will make your employees feel valued and grateful to be a part of your organization.
Currently or in the past, during and/or after a layoff how have you demonstrated leadership in an empathetic demeanor? Please share your comments below.