You never want to see someone lose their job, and as an executive, it is challenging to see beloved employees go through the process. However, layoffs and downsizing are often necessary in today’s business climate, so it’s best to prepare for this scenario.
One issue you’ll encounter during a period of layoffs is declining employee morale. After all, your workers are friends with the people being laid off and don’t want to see them go. They might also believe they could be next, making it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand.
Providing executive coaching for your managerial staff to develop the necessary skills to deal with employee layoffs and their aftermath is vital if you want your company to survive. Here are some tips for motivating employees and improving morale as your company downsizes.
1) Interact With Everyone
Your employees are looking for a bit of security during a period of layoffs, so interacting and speaking with them as much as possible is vital. If you aren’t around to interact with them, they may feel like they’re the next to go and could struggle to stay motivated.
Executives and managers must be visible during this period to put employee concerns to rest and get everyone back on the same page. You’ll also want to ensure you treat everyone equally because employees worried about job security could be extra sensitive and quick to pick up on any signs of favoritism.
2) Listen to Employee Concerns
As you interact with the employees around the office, make sure you take time to listen to their concerns. They could be upset about no longer having close friends around the office or worried they won’t survive the next round of cuts.
Taking the time to listen to these concerns and speak openly about the current situation within the company can help put their worries to rest. The result is more motivated employees and improved morale around the building.
3) Treat Everyone as Equals
Naturally, employees could be wary about interacting with company leadership following mass layoffs because they might not feel like they’re part of your team. You can help alleviate this attitude by treating everyone equally within the office. Speak to executives and entry-level clerks the same way to create a feeling of equality on the job, as your employees are sure to appreciate the sentiment.
Taking the time to treat every employee the same can put some preconceived notions about the company’s leadership to rest and improve employee performance. Your staff wants to see you as human, so having some honest human interactions with them can help the situation.
4) Learn About Your Employees
Developing personal relationships with your staff goes a long way following a layoff. These workers are insecure about their place in the organization, so asking questions, learning their motivations, and understanding their perspectives can help put them at ease.
Asking questions about your employees also makes them feel like valued members of the team rather than just another cog in the wheel. These interactions can help re-focus workers if they’re upset after a series of layoffs within the company.
5) Remember the Human Element
Your employees will be upset by the company’s layoffs because of the human element. Their co-workers are a significant part of their lives, and some won’t be around any longer, leading to unhappiness. There’s also the fact that the laid-off individuals no longer have a job and could face some financial uncertainty in the coming months.
While it might be tempting to focus on the positives for the remaining employees, like their continued employment, they won’t be in the mood to celebrate because their friends are facing such a challenging time. Although you might believe focusing on the positives is a good thing in this situation, your employees might not be ready to look at the bright side.
Beginning the Process
If you run a large organization, making the rounds and speaking with every employee might seem impossible. Fortunately, you can delegate some of the work to your managers and executives.
You should increase your interactions within the office, though, by focusing on a few key employees you want to keep happy. Remember that you don’t want to show favoritism; you just want to show you care.
The Executive Training You Need
Dealing with poor employee morale after some layoffs is part of running a business, but you can get through this situation if every member of your executive team is ready to help. An executive coaching program ensures your leaders have the necessary skills to interact with employees, leading to better outcomes.
Contact the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) to learn how our executive training coaching services can help your company during what’s sure to be a challenging period.