November 8, 2022
Keep Team Confidence Amid Layoffs and Restructuring
The business climate still makes things hard for leaders two years into the corporate rollercoaster ride the Pandemic kicked off in 2020. Since then, its lingering effects, the war in Ukraine, supply chain interruptions, and political unrest have kept leaders of organizations dancing. In the last twelve months, U.S. companies laid off or let go a reported 1.3 million workers. Now, more than ever, it is important for leaders to focus on maintaining team confidence during times of uncertainty.
Companies that have gone through restructuring or layoffs in order to stay viable face the hard challenge of keeping remaining employees motivated and loyal. The employees they still employ play a critical role in future growth, but after watching their colleagues leave and roles shift around, remaining workers struggle with feelings of guilt, anxiety, burnout, and anger. Retained employees report a noticeable decline in their productivity and proficiency in their roles.
Leaders can help existing employees rebound from the shock of staff changes so they can realize greater forward movement for the company and for themselves. A new conversation around employee support and employee wellness should take priority when leaders take on rebuilding team morale. For that reason, managers and supervisors should step back from their role as performance managers, and prioritize leading and encouraging the team.
Reduce Stress In The Workplace
With a lot of changes happening around them, employees can feel the shakeup environment in addition to wondering where they stand with the company. It can understandably become impossible to focus on their tasks in the wishy-washy environments that reductions create. A skilled manager can mitigate the effects of uncertainty by highlighting the components that employees can control.
Managers and supervisors can clearly explain the employee’s current goals and the steps they must take to reach them. This is the time to champion a methodical approach. Managers should guide their workers into back-to-basic practices that achieve reliable outcomes. During shaky times, teams value stability over exploration. So managers will do well to highlight the dependable parts of a process and avoid encouraging innovative deviations at this time.
If their team members’ goals, team priorities, and workloads have changed, managers need to communicate the new set of operatives clearly and often. Then, let their people know when they have excelled in their new field of play. Clarity around what’s happened with recent layoffs or furloughs is a good thing. Managers should communicate realities with compassion, and honestly let their teams know what they know. They must also truthfully express what they don’t know. Clarity shows authenticity in a manager which employees value in times of change. They can commit to working for a leader that treats them as they would want to be treated.
Trust is a critical part of keeping team confidence amid layoffs and it can be the first thing to dissolve. Leaders can earn employee trust by continuing to invest in their development. Leaders show employees they truly care about them as individuals and as valued players on their teams. Managers can make coaching and mentorship opportunities available to remaining employees so they can be developing their skills even though circumstances in the company might change. Their ability to continue growing their professional worth gives them some level of control while reassuring them that their direct manager really does care and believes in them.
Employee development can be a win/win strategy for managers that don’t have a lot of options when it comes to their company’s decision to make reductions. Whichever direction their senior leaders take includes a positive opportunity for the employee to flex new skills and potentially grow from the choice when it’s enacted.
TaskHuman’s mobile coaching platform offers an existing workforce top-level support with regard to growing career skills. Private coaches are available for consult on demand to complement any work schedule. Many coaches have been through volatile business climates before and speak from a level of emotional experience that can help employees gain perspective about their current reality. Employees that get support through these difficult career situations have an easier time continuing to engage at work and make progress.
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Layoffs Are Inevitable
Layoffs suck. They inevitably come and go as a response to changing markets. Companies can build a favorable reputation that serves them well now and can even last into more stable market times ahead. How managers handle the reductions occurring now in their firms can support the story around their culture and values. When those areas stay strong managers keep the flexibility to increase their staff down the line. When that time comes, people will remember how they were treated and make a selection based in part on reputation.
Navigate through uncertainty takes a different type of strength in leaders. Download our e-book Lead and Succeed Through Uncertainty to learn more
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