Namely’s HR Resolutions: How to Optimize Your Workforce After Layoffs
Company Culture

How to Optimize Your Workforce After Layoffs

Between the economic uncertainty and the long-lasting impacts COVID-19 has had on businesses, another wave of layoffs has been sweeping the workforce across the globe. So how can employers optimize their workforce after layoffs?

Here are our best tips on how to optimize your workforce after layoffs.

1. Use Simple, Consistent, and Positive Communication 

The first and most crucial step in optimizing your workforce after layoffs is to promptly and effectively communicate with your employees by addressing the changes. The best way to discuss the adjustment is through overcommunicating and transparency. Be honest – explain the reasons for the changes, how decisions were made, resources and plans to support those impacted by the changes, and strategy for the transition.

The most effective approach is to ensure the decisions were perceived as fair and take a consultative rather than an authoritative approach. For example, if possible and appropriate, propose writing letters of recommendation for laid-off employees. You could also support former employees through network introductions, where appropriate.

Be sure to also consider counseling resources to mitigate survivor’s guilt and any negative responses to the transition. Some feelings of survivor guilt might include fear, insecurity, uncertainty, frustration, resentment, anger, sadness, depression, a sense of unfairness, betrayal, and/or distrust.

While it may not necessarily be perceived as a crisis, it is imperative to implement internal communication best practices.

2. Take a Pulse Check on Employee Engagement 

Nearly 75 percent of employees who survive a layoff have negative impacts on productivity, including 69 percent who believe their company’s product or service quality declined. Respondents that experienced declined productivity and negative feelings towards their organization’s product(s) and service(s) quality conveyed a sense of shame, concern, and animosity.

Make the effort to be receptive, accessible, and sincere. All leaders in the organization need to take frequent pulse checks to ensure effective employee engagement.

To help promote a positive employee experience after layoffs, consider the following tips:

  • Open a discussion. Whether it is a town-hall meeting, catered lunch, or training, creating a safe space for employees to express their concerns and ask questions can help de-escalate emotions about the situation. Allow time for employees to provide feedback as well.
  • Set up weekly check-ins. This is a great opportunity to ensure they know what resources and opportunities are available to them. Communicate any organizational goals and visions and ask for continued input from employees.
  • Offer resources to support employees. From mental health resources and employee assistance programs to unlimited access to fitness classes and informal chat channels, where staff members can interact casually about topics outside of work can help provide employees an outlet to cope with the changes.
  • Get creative with employee appreciation. Though there may be some negative feelings, remind your employees how much you appreciate them. Throw an employee appreciation event, like an award presentation or a just-for-fun celebration. Even sending out company swag with an inspirational note of appreciation can go a long way.

The upside to the situation is that employees who believed their managers were accessible, receptive, and open were significantly less likely to decrease productivity (70 percent) and the quality of their work (65 percent).

To help gauge your employee engagement, explore The Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement Surveys.

3. Create Professional Growth Opportunities 

To help take a proactive stance in preventing future layoffs, invest in the alternative of reskilling and/or upskilling your employees. In response to an uncertain economy and evolving labor market, upskilling and reskilling can provide professional growth opportunities for your retained employees.

Other considerations regarding professional growth opportunities include:

  • Reallocation of job responsibilities. In reviewing opportunities for your current employees to transition and where transferable skills can be applied, consider reallocating job responsibilities to reduce the need for future layoffs.
  • Adjusting compensation and benefits. Through reallocation of job responsibilities and re-evaluating role requirements, adjusting compensation and benefits to level any pay disparities might help your budget in the long term.
  • Maintaining engagement and satisfaction. Are your employees satisfied with their roles? With the overall organization? Touch base with your employees and see if a change in role or department might be the shift in increased engagement and satisfaction they need.

Reskilling and upskilling your employees require a good strategy, resource access, and effective communication. 

4. Consider the Bigger Picture    

Although you know your business better than anyone else, it can be hard to admit you can’t do it all. That’s where hiring a third-party vendor might help. Outsourcing some business functions, like HR, benefits administration, and payroll can minimize your administrative tasks so you can focus on growing your business.

Third-party vendors can help you:

  • Focus on productivity.  Track your employees’ productivity to identify any barriers hindering your business’s success. Outsourcing HR can provide you with powerful software options that allow you to track time, generate productivity reports, and automate repeated tasks to eliminate human participation.
  • Save your budget. Where you’re funding a position that can be outsourced, you can save money on positions and functions you don’t need in-house.
  • Consolidate role responsibilities. Not all responsibilities require a dedicated role. For example, many HR responsibilities overlap with payroll and benefits. Outsourcing those services can help save your budget for more important items.

Layoffs are not easy to implement or navigate. But optimize and inspire your workforce with Namely.

Sources: Quantum Workplace, Nivati, SHRM, Harvard Business Review, HR Forecast

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