Many businesses today are undergoing layoffs, and employee engagement and retention strategies may not necessarily be top of mind amid evolving economic conditions. However, in order to build high-functioning, lean teams, businesses need to retain top talent and avoid distractions that could come with uncertainty, fear or confusion at the state of the business.
During the panel, Bella Patel from FCB Global, a world-renowned advertising agency, shared how, despite recently performing layoffs in particular departments, they have maintained employee engagement and combatted fears of job security. Doing so has helped maintain strong retention and engagement rates in teams not impacted by layoffs, successfully building leaner and stronger high-performing teams. Below are four topics Patel highlighted as essential to communicate company-wide, as well as research-backed strategies for supporting employees during layoffs.
Communicate the Reasoning Behind Layoffs
While it may not be necessary to go into detail about the extensive decision-making process, providing a basic overview of what led to layoffs and how they were decided upon can 1. provide comfort to those fearing for their job security or 2. provide motivation and clarity for those who may need to elevate their performance in order to produce for the company to remain employed.
Implementing clear and concise, top-down communication regarding layoffs is essential to do quickly in order to control the narrative and not cause panic. This communication should include information about who was affected and why, when appropriate, and what the remaining employees should expect in terms of changes to company operations and their own day-to-day tasks.
Describing what support and benefits are offered to those affected, whether it be a severance package, referrals to help them find new employment, or any other outplacement offerings, communicating with existing employees can help ensure they know the company cares for those being laid off and the situation is being handled delicately. Oftentimes, a great deal of intentionality and research goes into layoffs, which isn’t always seen by employees.
Changes to Come
In order to regain a sense of safety in their roles, employees want to understand the changes the business will make in order to avoid future layoffs. When possible, communicate how the company will be impacted down the line and plans to maintain production – be it adding temporary employees to pick up the slack, restructuring certain departments, identifying cost savings, etc.
To better support employees, leaders need to understand what staff are thinking and feeling and where any confusion may lie – don't assume. Allow employees to submit questions and encourage them to reach out to their manager or human resources team for support if they need it.
If you need the support of temporary employees while undergoing layoffs, let us help. Get connected here.