Retention after layoffs

How to Make Your Employees Feel Safe After Layoffs

We’ve already discussed the very practical ways of retaining your employees, like boosting benefits or pay, which are all very important to help employees feel valued. But in tandem with those benefits comes interpersonal, caring, empathetic ways to make your current employees feel safe after your company has gone through a set of layoffs.

Here are a few ways to help ease your employees into their new current work environment:

1. Be clear and respectful in all communications.

Put a lot of thought into your initial messaging after a series of layoffs. Limit the number of unknowns that you’re communicating, such as “we don’t know if this is the last round of layoffs” or generalities, like “some positions will be filled, but others will not.” These statements add more confusion and worry, leading people to believe that their job security is in jeopardy. Instead, make your statements clear and well-thought-out with what happened, why, and how you are moving forward as a company. Then follow tip #2 to make sure individuals get their questions answered personally.

2. Make space for employees' emotions and feelings.

Your HR team can take the lead on how best to support all your people right after the difficult layoffs you experienced. In addition to open hours with their HR reps, you might want to bring in therapists, meditation instructors, or yoga teachers to help give employees more outlets to move through their grief. Above all, listen to your employees to know what they want to help them feel their best.

3. Celebrate and build up teams and individuals - as much as you can.

Boosting morale and retention could look like monthly awards, team trips, celebrations, workshops, and community volunteer work. As long as the goal is to build everyone up and not to get more work out of your employees (like an on-location work intensive), they’ll recognize your commitment to their emotional well-being. The more connected they are together, the more invaluable they’ll feel.

4. Be understanding of limitations.

Now that you have fewer workers, let your current employees know that you will support them in the longer time it takes to complete projects. If you have the ability to hire freelancers, do it, and within a reasonable time after layoffs. Be vocal about what is happening to the team and which positions you intend to backfill. Keep your word and don’t expect your current employees to double up on work while you’re waiting for help to arrive.

5. Collect and respond to feedback

Communication is a two-way street. If you’re not soliciting surveys or keeping your office doors open for candid feedback, that’s a sign to your current employees that you’re being avoidant or frankly don’t care about their opinions. This is a setup for low morale and increased turnover. Instead, be proactive about requesting employee feedback. You can use software to collect feedback anonymously so that people feel they can be honest. Another great way to source feedback is through one-on-one and/or team meetings where an HR representative and hired party (like a therapist or career coach) are present. Managers are then encouraged to listen, not get defensive, take notes, and then take their findings back to HR to prepare a plan of action. Then, communicate your plan clearly so everyone is on the same page about how the company is trying to strengthen morale.

If you are one of the companies who is looking for talent to help you through your tough times, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you need a flexible copywriter or a diligent project manager, we can help you find the right people for your company.

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