Victoria Healey
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Last Updated on October 12, 2023 by It’s Complicated

Making the decision to downsize and reduce a company’s workforce is never easy but is often necessary for a company’s survival. In addition to the team members affected by the layoffs, reorganizations can leave a significant impact on the remaining employees. After a series of layoffs, it’s essential for companies to focus on supporting their teams to rebuild morale, foster resilience, and ensure a healthy work environment.

As research continue to delve into the psychological effects of layoffs, the findings can inform both individuals and organizations on how to better navigate these challenging situations and provide the necessary support and resources for those affected. The following are some established ways to support your teams after a series of layoffs.

Transparent Communication

One of the most crucial aspects of supporting a team after layoffs is open and transparent communication. Employees who are kept in the dark or left to speculate about the future, can experience heightened anxiety and decreased morale. Companies should provide a clear and honest explanation of why layoffs occurred, what the future holds, and how the company plans to move forward.

Emotional Support

Layoffs can be emotionally taxing for both those who leave and those who stay. Companies should offer emotional support resources such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), counseling services, or access to mental health professionals. Encourage employees to seek help when needed, emphasizing that it’s okay to talk about their feelings. In addition, consider implementing peer support groups or forums where employees can connect with their colleagues to share their experiences, offer advice, and provide emotional support to one another.

Skill Development and Training

After layoffs, it’s common for the remaining team to take on additional responsibilities to fill the gaps. Companies can support their teams by offering training and skill development programs to help employees adapt to their new roles and enhance their professional growth. Investing in your team’s skill development not only boosts their confidence but also increases their effectiveness and productivity, which is crucial during times of transition.

Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for employee well-being, especially after a series of layoffs. Encourage employees to take breaks, use their vacation time, and avoid excessive overtime. Promote flexibility in work schedules, allowing employees to better manage their personal and professional lives. When employees feel they can balance their work and personal responsibilities, they are more likely to remain engaged and committed to their jobs.

Recognition and Appreciation

In times of uncertainty, employees need to know that their contributions are valued. Regularly recognize and appreciate your team’s efforts, both individually and collectively. Small gestures like thank-you notes, team lunches, or recognition programs can go a long way in boosting morale and motivation.

Career Development Opportunities

Offering career development opportunities is an excellent way to reassure employees about their future within the company. Provide clear paths for advancement, promote from within whenever possible, and offer mentorship and coaching programs. This shows employees that the company is invested in their long-term growth.

Rebuilding Company Culture

A series of layoffs can disrupt a company’s culture. It’s essential to rebuild and reinforce the core values and culture that made the company successful in the first place. Encourage open collaboration, innovation, and a sense of belonging among your employees.

Layoffs are never easy, but how a company handles the aftermath can significantly impact the morale, productivity, and resilience of its remaining team members. By focusing on transparent communication, emotional support, skill development, work-life balance, recognition, career development, and rebuilding company culture, companies can best support their teams during these challenging times. Nurturing resilience and fostering a sense of unity can help employees navigate the uncertainties ahead and emerge stronger than ever.

To read more about the psychological effects of layoffs

Fløvik, L., Knardahl, S., & Christensen, J. O. (2019). The effect of organizational changes on the psychosocial work environment: changes in psychological and social working conditions following organizational changes. Frontiers in psychology10, 2845.

Laulié, L., & Morgeson, F. P. (2021). The end is just the beginning: Turnover events and their impact on those who remain. Personnel Psychology74(3), 387-409.

Pugh, S. D., Skarlicki, D. P., & Passell, B. S. (2003). After the fall: Layoff victims’ trust and cynicism in re‐employment. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology76(2), 201-212.

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