Based on our observations, organizations tend to effectively communicate with affected employees and offer satisfactory severance packages. However, any shortcomings in this regard typically arise after the workforce reduction, specifically in terms of how the company interacts with the remaining employees. This can result in significant attrition, burnout, and disengagement.

Communications focused on stability

In the majority of cases, employees seek reassurance regarding stability and a guarantee that there will not be further layoffs in the future. Although most organizations cannot promise specific staffing levels ahead, it is crucial to actively communicate the health of the business through metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as highlighting achievements. This approach significantly enhances employee confidence. It is essential to adopt a comprehensive approach, involving both top-down communication and leaders taking the initiative to relay information to their teams. Utilizing technology to disseminate pre-packaged messages to leaders, which they can easily share digitally and verbally with their teams, complements the existing internal communication efforts.

Pulse check with teams

Once things have calmed down, we highly recommend gathering feedback by conducting brief pulse surveys or arranging leader-led standup meetings to gauge employees’ sentiments regarding the recent changes. This feedback should focus on how employees are coping with the changes, any remaining concerns they may have, and whether the main messages you communicated about the layoffs have been well-received. This will provide valuable insights on how to address employee concerns effectively. It is crucial, of course, to take action based on this feedback (as discussed below).

Celebrations

Acknowledging important milestones and achievements, such as birthdays, work anniversaries, returning from leave, promotions, goal achievements, embodying company values, and exceptional work, holds significant value in recognizing and appreciating individuals and teams. While some companies may choose to temporarily suspend these activities for a short period of time after downsizing or reducing staff, it is crucial to purposefully prioritize celebrating others and cultivate a “culture of celebration” if one is not already established. Employing user-friendly technology that simplifies the process (automated and timely reminders for leaders), adds an element of enjoyment (virtual cards, GIFs, emojis, badges), integrates seamlessly with existing tools, and has a meaningful impact (increasing visibility when appropriate) is essential for facilitating widespread celebrations. Without such efforts, employees may feel undervalued both as individuals and as contributors, leading to disengagement and high turnover rates.

Leadership Burden

Frontline leaders are likely to experience the full impact of the layoffs, carrying not only their own concerns but also those of their team members. Therefore, it is crucial to provide support to these leaders, both in navigating the aftermath of the layoffs themselves and in their regular duties. To address the former, it is important to offer timely and easily accessible well-being resources and tips to leaders, instead of expecting them to search for them on their own. This simple gesture demonstrates valuable support. In terms of the latter, it is beneficial to analyze recent engagement survey results and identify 1-3 areas where improvements can be made in providing better support to leaders. Failing to address these needs may lead to increased burnout and attrition among leaders.

Engagement Action Plans

It is reasonable to anticipate a decrease in engagement survey scores after layoffs. It is always important to take action based on employee feedback, but it becomes even more crucial in the aftermath of layoffs or challenging business situations. Failing to do so will contribute to disengagement, dissatisfaction, and misunderstandings among employees.

Although organizations often have good intentions when it comes to post-engagement survey action planning, they often struggle with implementation due to several reasons. Firstly, creating action plans on a large scale can be complex and time-consuming. Secondly, leaders are often left to their own devices in translating the general guidance provided by survey results into specific actions they can take on a weekly basis to improve the situation. Thirdly, measuring the completion of these actions is challenging, often relying on self-reporting or waiting for the next survey.

One potential solution is to invest in technology that automates these processes. This technology would facilitate the creation of action plans at the leader level, tailored to their specific survey results. Additionally, it would provide pre-packaged actions that leaders can easily access from the tools they already use in their daily work. Furthermore, it would enable the direct measurement of the actions taken and their effectiveness.

Investing while reducing costs

In summary, it might appear illogical to invest in new ventures after cutting expenses through layoffs. However, based on our observations, making small but gradual investments in the mentioned areas conveys a sense of stability and progress, leading to significant benefits in reducing employee turnover and enhancing engagement. Additionally, there might be possibilities to streamline different individual solutions into a more inclusive platform, resulting in additional efficiencies.

#RetainingTalentAfterRestructuring #EmployeeEngagementPostLayoffs #StrengtheningSurvivorMorale #RebuildingTrustAndMotivation #SupportingRemainingTeamMembers #EmpoweringSurvivingEmployees #ResilientWorkforceAfterReduction #ReinvigoratingRemainingStaff #InvestingInSurvivorWellbeing #EngageAndEmpowerAfterDownsizing #OrganizationDevelopment #OrganizationalDevelopment #AIODP

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