Rethinking Workplace Management to Retain Employees After Layoffs
The tech layoff earlier this year took many of us by surprise. And not a pleasant one. With over 150,000 employees laid off across industries, it’s not just the candidates but also the recruiters facing the adverse impact. For recruiters, employee retention becomes a tightrope walk as many of them ask tough questions, start searching for a backup job, and lose productivity. These pose an urgent requirement to create a secure work environment to retain employees, rethink workplace management, and repair employer branding.
In this guide, we will tackle these challenges by looking at HR responsibilities to both those laid off and those remaining. We’ll also touch upon “layoff survivor syndrome” to help regain the remaining employees’ confidence after any layoffs. In the end, we’ll answer some of the pertinent questions to workplace management after tech layoff.
What is workplace management?
Workplace management refers to the practice of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling resources, activities, and people in a workplace to achieve organizational goals and objectives effectively and efficiently. This involves managing various aspects of the workplace, such as human resources, operations, finance, marketing, and administration, to ensure that the business runs smoothly and profitably.
HR team tasked with effective workplace management typically should:
- Create a positive work environment
- Provide necessary resources and tools
- Set clear goals and expectations
- Provide training and support
- Communicate effectively and take feedback
But when faced with critical situations like mass layoffs, the workplace management strategy should take a different approach. And to devise that, first, one should understand the unique impact of layoffs at their own workplace.
How do mass layoffs impact the workplace?
Layoffs adversely impact not just employee outlook and performance but also the mindset of workers that penetrate the entire workforce. A mass layoff also tarnishes the employer’s branding, requiring immediate reputation management efforts. So, before deciding on mass layoffs, employers and HR team should carefully consider their workplace management recourse for its inevitable consequences such as:
Decreased morale and productivity
Employees who remain with the organization may feel anxious, fearful, or uncertain about their job security, leading to decreased morale and motivation.
Increased workload and knowledge gap
The remaining employees may be required to take on additional responsibilities or cover the work of the laid-off employees, leading to increased workload and stress. Additionally, the laid-off employees that are difficult to replace lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and hurdles in workflows.
Negative public perception
Mass layoffs can damage the reputation of the organization, leading to negative public perception and potentially affecting its ability to attract and retain employees and customers in the future.
With that in mind, if a mass layoff is the only way forward, the HR responsibilities in mitigating its impact include smooth exit and employee retention.
HR responsibilities after layoff announcement
Transparent communication on layoff decisions
One way to set the foundation for employee retention in the future is to transparently communicate the decisions regarding layoffs.
You should be ready to answer questions posed to you by your existing employees. Be transparent on the reasons for the layoffs while talking about the need for the exercise from a company perspective. Talk about how you are helping ease the transition for those who are affected. Basically, be sympathetic and help paint a full picture of the situation from the company’s standpoint.
Help those affected find their new role
HR should provide support to affected employees, including career counselling, resume writing assistance, and job search resources. This helps ease the transition for laid-off employees and shows the organization’s commitment to their well-being. Get outplacement services to help them find jobs if possible.
Monitor and manage online employer brand
You cannot force anyone into not posting reviews or putting up negative posts about your brand. However, it’s imperative to monitor online mentions regarding layoffs, respond appropriately, and take steps to protect the organization’s online reputation. This helps mitigate negative effects on the organization’s brand and ensures that the company’s unfortunate action is viewed as its problem, not malicious intent.
Why do people quit after layoffs?
The risk of quitting by the remaining employees after mass layoffs is the biggest challenge of employee retention. While on the surface, it may seem like a way of securing the self in an apprehensive workplace situation, but another side can be ‘Layoff survivor syndrome’. It is a phenomenon where employees who remain after a layoff experience emotional and psychological stress due to the loss of their colleagues and the fear of future layoffs. It’s so prevalent that 74% of employees who kept their job amidst a corporate layoff say their own productivity has declined since the layoff.
To help out with ‘layoff survivor syndrome’, as part of the workplace management revamps post-layoffs, HR managers can:
- Implement effective communication strategies to keep employees informed and engaged
- Offer counseling and support services to help employees cope with emotional and psychological stress
- Provide opportunities for training and development to increase job security and enhance morale
- Encourage open dialogue and feedback to address employee concerns and improve trust in the organization
- Foster a positive work culture that emphasizes employee well-being and promotes a sense of community and support.
Taking these further, next, we look at the HR best practices with respect to remaining employees after layoffs.
HR tips to retain remaining employees after layoffs
Listen to employee concerns and validate their contributions
After a layoff, remaining employees may feel overwhelmed or uncertain about their role in the company. HR managers should listen to their concerns, offer support, and recognize their contributions to the organization. By validating their efforts, employees will feel valued and motivated to continue their work.
Openly communicate the company’s financial situation and outlook
Employees want to know what’s happening with their company, so HR managers should be transparent about the financial situation and future outlook. This will help build trust and confidence among the remaining staff, and give them a sense of stability during an uncertain time.
Reorganizing employee duties per revised company goals
Post-mass layoff, the remaining employees may need to take on additional responsibilities to compensate for the loss of staff. HR managers should reorganize employee duties per revised company goals, to ensure they are working effectively and productively. This can help maintain team morale and provide clear direction.
Schedule skip-level meetings with senior management
Senior leadership should hold skip-level meetings to build stronger relationships with employees and understand their concerns. By providing direct access to top executives, employees feel valued and important, and the company can gain valuable feedback that can improve operations.
Invest in progress of your remaining employees
Investing in the progress of remaining employees, such as training and development opportunities, can help boost morale and job satisfaction. This can help employees feel valued and motivated to continue contributing to the organization and can also improve their skills and expertise for future growth.
The aftermath of mass layoffs can pose significant challenges for businesses to retain their top employees. While it may seem difficult, with proper workplace management, HR strategies, and open communication, companies can create recoup from the consequences. That said, for this workplace management changes to work, it is essential for HR teams to prioritize their employee’s well-being as their business as usual; not wait for such workplace calamities to happen.
If your workplace, too, has had to lay off lately and is looking to restart hiring, we highly recommend an economical and flexible approach — AI recruiting tools. These tools come with multiple filters, smarts, and historical data to take care of both repetitive manual tasks and mindful decision-making of your recruitment drive. To understand how it can benefit your business, request a demo today!
Do layoffs increase turnover?
Yes, layoffs can increase employee turnover as it reduces job security, creates uncertainty, and lowers the morale of the remaining employees.
What is layoff survivor syndrome?
Layoff survivor syndrome is emotional and psychological stress experienced by remaining employees after a layoff.
What is attrition after a layoff?
Attrition after a layoff refers to the voluntary departure of employees due to reduced job satisfaction and trust.
What to do after your company has layoffs?
After a layoff, communicate transparently, offer support, reorganize duties, and invest in the progress of remaining employees.
What are the responsibilities of HR management towards laid-off employees?
HR management should offer support, provide career transition resources, and maintain communication with laid-off employees.