Every company undergoes a potential performance management crisis when dealing with layoffs. Along with plunging productivity rates, the cost of replacing an employee (studies show that it could cost anywhere between 6-9 months’ salary) is enough to make one think twice about letting workers go. If employees begin to feel insecure and uncertain about the fate of their own positions, the turnover rate will skyrocket and leave your company on Very. Shaky. Ground. 

But that does not have to be the only outcome. 

For our fourth and final article in the “Secrets Behind Employee Success” series, we will dive straight into 6 sure-fire ways to boost employee morale, help your company recover from layoffs, and retain your top performers.

  1. Communicate transparently
    When it comes to communication during times of crises, it is absolutely crucial for top management to exude honesty and transparency in any and all internal communication. Inform the remaining employees as openly as possible about the reason for and nature of the layoffs and what the company plans to do to recover. Motivate employees to work hard and plow through, while maintaining an open path of communication for FAQs regarding the downsizing. 
    This would also be a good time to restate your company’s mission, vision and goals. Your employees will feel more loyal and valued when they’re in the loop and understand the what, why, and where of your company’s direction and status. It will help them think more like an owner and less like a subordinate, allowing them to place company objectives over personal agendas.
  2. Listen empathetically 
    During this time, communication must be a two-way stream. It is as vital to talk to your employees as it is to listen and understand their concerns and needs. Layoffs imply a loss of not simply colleagues, but of partners, confidants and friends. Address these issues calmly, without any judgement on the attitudes and feelings of your employees. The more you recognize their problems, the likelier you are to regain their trust in you as an employer. 
  3. Restructure – and reassure
    Eliminate unnecessary business work that does not contribute to your company’s goals. This may mean reengineering some of your current processes or tweaking job descriptions to clarify what really matters for the success of the company.
    But don’t forget, your employees really matter too. Make sure you create and foster an environment of trust for your employees. Since all these changes will certainly cause your staff to be wary of your organization and their job security, reassure them that the company will thrive and move forward.
  4. Offer skill development and growth opportunities
    Words are futile unless accompanied by action. The best way to reassure your remaining staff is to focus on and invest in their growth within your company. Show that you’re interested in them by communicating role-changes effectively since many employees will have to take on additional work to compensate for those who were laid off. Provide training crash-courses so that your staff will know that you’re invested in their performance, and it’ll keep your company afloat and productive during this turbulent time. 
  5. Encourage positive manager-to-employee feedback
    It’s often much harder to remember to compliment than it is to criticize. Urge your managers to verbalize their appreciation for the good work your staff do. This simple little act can boost their confidence and help create a friendly, open environment that is needed for when negative feedback is necessary. While this is a good rule of thumb in general, it is much more necessary during the layoff period. 
  6. Recognize and reward
    Recognizing your employees’ talent goes a long way in making them feel like a valuable part of your company. Rewarding outstanding employees ensures that performance levels stay high while encouraging others to do the same. It doesn’t have to be anything flashy. It could be a simple “Employee of the Week” contest, or a spread of organized team outings to reward your staff for all their labor and hardwork. These events foster harmony and loyalty, and restore confidence in you as an employer. 

    Now that you know the various strategies to win back your employees and regain the trust of your top performers, take a breather and choose which one to start with first. And while you wait, learn how HR Learn for Work’s various training modules can help kickstart the process.