Emerging From a Layoff: How to Keep Your Team Focused

  • Author: Melanie Haniph

Layoffs are never easy, including for those who remain in the organization. For many, it can be challenging to cope with all the disruption a layoff brings. However, you can help employees recover by looking for ways to understand their feelings and give them the support they need to adjust.

In a recent survey, 71% of remaining employees said their work motivation declined after a company layoff. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Use this reference guide to discover how to keep your team focused after a company layoff.

Six Ways to Keep Your Team Focused and Motivated After a Layoff

1. Engage in two-way communication and feedback

Layoffs have the potential to keep employees wondering how their work, team, and job security will be affected going forward. To ease those concerns, take time for transparent conversations with employees, one-on-one and in team meetings. Show a willingness to answer tough questions, and be honest about what you know and don’t know about the layoff. In addition to sharing information, periodically ask employees how they’re doing and what’s on their minds.

2. Monitor team workloads

Teams that have lost one or more members due to a layoff aren’t just struggling with the loss of a teammate; they also have fewer people to share the team’s work. So be sensitive to employee workloads and have open dialogue about how to regroup and reallocate team responsibilities. Talk about options for revising project timetables and explore additional systems and support to help employees find a new rhythm in their work.

3. Boost team cohesion

Bringing your team together after a layoff provides employees with opportunities to support each other and bond over shared experiences. In addition to regular team meetings, encourage employee connections in less formal settings where they have opportunities to develop relationships and build some team spirit. Examples include team lunches, after-hours get-togethers, and an informal team Slack channel or group text.

4. Remind employees of available support

Company support resources may not be top of mind for employees feeling down about a layoff or anxious about what comes next. But when you remind them of what’s available, they may be more likely to get help. Therefore, make sure employees know how to access available sources of support, including:

  • Mental health benefits
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources
  • Employee Research Groups (ERGs) offering discussion and support

5. Demonstrate empathy

Given the range of emotions employees can feel after a layoff—anger, sadness, survivor’s guilt, to name a few—it’s critical to acknowledge those feelings and their impact on employee day-to-day experiences. Even if your team wasn’t directly affected by a layoff, team members may still be struggling with “getting back to normal” in the days and weeks that follow. By listening and putting yourself in your employees’ shoes, you can develop a deeper understanding of their perspectives and how you can help to address their concerns.

6. Accentuate the positive

Layoffs are difficult for everybody, but you can’t allow them to cast a shadow over your team forever. Instead, help employees recover by staying positive and highlighting what’s great about your team and the work you do. Do this by:

  • Celebrating small wins, such as a great client call or a well-organized presentation
  • Recognizing employee achievements
  • Expressing gratitude for employees’ strengths and talents
  • Reminding employees how much you appreciate the positive impact of their work

Restoring team engagement after a layoff doesn’t happen overnight. But taking these actions will point your team in the right direction and help it progress from surviving to thriving.

For more tips to help you build a motivated, cohesive team, read our blog and follow us on LinkedIn.

Get Insights Monthly

Related Insights