How to Motivate Employees after a Layoff
Whether the economy is in a boom or bust cycle, downsizing is an unfortunate reality for many companies at one time or another. It might be due to a merger or acquisition, restructuring for better efficiency or simply the need to cut the budget.
Whatever the reason, layoffs are tough on everyone. If not handled correctly, morale may take a nosedive and motivation may be in short supply.
Should your company ever face the difficult decision to downsize, here are a few key things to help keep your employees motivated and morale high:
Respect Employees’ Feelings
Employees who survive a layoffs can experience a wide range of emotions including guilt, relief, anger and sadness. These reactions aren’t surprising given how much time co-workers spend together on a day-to-day basis. While it may be tempting to adopt a “keep calm and carry on” attitude, this may make employees feel slighted and dismissed.
Instead, allow employees some time to process the change and talk about it with each other or in a group. It’s of course important to set some boundaries so that the office doesn’t devolve into non-stop complaining or bitterness. But cutting everyone some slack for a few days will help your staff heal and move on.
Acknowledge the Challenges & Opportunities
Often, when a layoff occurs, it means additional work for the employees who remain. This new shift in responsibility can cause fear and uncertainty. Put these fears to rest by immediately discussing and outlining what the employee will be expected to do and not do.
Try to keep the conversation as positive as possible. Point out the opportunities in career growth now available to them. Invite questions, listen closely and address any concerns that may arise.
Not surprisingly, after a layoff, the remaining employees may feel unsure about the stability of the company and the future of their jobs. Be transparent when talking about why the layoff happened and outline other changes upper management is making to improve the bottom line and overall health of the company.
Elicit Suggestions from Employees
All too often, companies forget to ask for input from those who are “in the trenches.” Many times, it’s these employees who see most clearly where changes can be made to increase productivity, cut costs and motivate co-workers.
Let your staff know that you appreciate their suggestions and welcome their input. When implementing an employee suggestion, don’t keep it quiet. Make sure your staff knows where this great idea came from. There’s nothing better for morale than feeling heard and valued.
Keep or Implement a Staff Recognition Program
After a layoff, it’s more important than ever to recognize and reward valuable employees. If you currently have a recognition program in place, make sure that it continues or even improve upon it. If you don’t have one, this is the perfect time to create one.
The more talent you can keep on board, the more likely your company is to come out on the other side stronger than ever.