The job market has become competitive, and companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and increase productivity through human resources. This means that layoffs are inevitable to reduce redundancies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 0.9% of total employment as the layoffs rate during an entire month.
Layoffs happen at every company, even those that are thriving. It happens after careful consideration and thorough analysis. Therefore, it is important to equip yourself with the skills needed to deal with such situations. Layoffs can cause anxiety and leave employees feeling uncertain and vulnerable.
Besides their emotional impact, layoffs have financial implications. They can cost companies millions of dollars every year. However, here are six tips to help HR professionals comfort and support employees during layoffs.
1. Communicate Effectively and Truthfully
Rumors about laying off employees will only cause stress, fear, and anxiety about job security and affect employee productivity. Therefore, it is important to remove ambiguity around the issue. This means that you should over-communicate what you know and be honest about what’s not yet clear. Also, repeat this information often to help employees embrace reality. The more open and honest you are, the more supported the employees feel, and they become less fearful of this eventuality.
2. Show Empathy
Layoffs are difficult times that can bring about employee vulnerability and anxiety. As a manager or business owner, the last thing you need is to seem unsympathetic and insincere. You need to show concern and respect for the departing team members and recognize their dedication to building your business.
Show empathy by acknowledging that your surviving employees have lost colleagues who they were close to or valued. As they feel unsure, insecure, and fearful, it is necessary to empathize with them to comfort them during this stressful time. Put yourself in their shoes before responding or engaging with them. If you can’t show the needed empathy and sincerity, find someone else to do it.
3. Respond to Bad Reviews Proactively
Bad reviews can be frustrating for any business. However, they can be challenging to deal with when they come from former employees. In this case, it is best to expect such bad reviews and respond to them with utmost positivity and empathy while ensuring not to disclose the employee’s personal information.
Being positive and empathetic accords you respect from your audience and reassures your employees that you still care about the former employees. It shows them you care about their well-being even if they are laid off in the future and that you value and respect even former workers. This can help improve their productivity since it shows you don’t harbor bad feelings about former employees or that there is no bad blood between you.
4. Use Digital Signage to Applaud Them
Once you know about the team members leaving, you must tell them face-to-face and then tell the whole team. Then, you can do something nice for them, like displaying their achievements for the company on your digital signage screens. You can display your journey with them on these screens and dedicate each individual to a single screen. Depending on the number of employees to be laid off, you can set aside a couple of days to ensure each gets their moment of glory on your digital signage displays.
In addition, you can display their benefits package on digital signage. This helps employees see their sendoff and appreciation package. You can even prepare a short video of every affected employee talking about their stay and career development in your company, their personal achievements, and what they helped the company achieve. This prepares your employees for the looming changes and allows them to say their goodbyes respectfully. In addition, it comforts your remaining employees because they feel you also care about the departing employees.
5. Show Transparency About the Company’s Position
Communicate the difficult decision and why the company needs to downsize and share this information across all levels. This comforts your remaining team since they feel you are willing to take the necessary measures to ensure financial stability for the company. In addition, giving facts about the layoffs builds trust with employees and helps them understand your predicament. Also, if the restructuring is because of a merger, let them know.
6. Hold Mindfulness Training
During layoffs, it may be hard for the employees to stay productive. So, consider holding mindfulness training to help them accept the circumstances, handle survivor’s guilt, and boost employee morale. Such training can have a significant positive impact on the workplace. It helps comfort your employees by helping them voice their fears, actively think about what happened, and move from harboring anger and fear to embracing the change and accepting the situation.
Mindfulness training improves mental health and increases resilience to stress, allowing employees to handle stress better and release emotions. Research has shown that offering mindfulness training decreases employees’ stress levels by 30% and allows them to improve focus, thoughtfulness, and overall well-being.
Layoffs Are Hard Enough, but Here’s What to Do
A company must prepare for layoffs before they happen. While it might seem like a stressful time, it is important to remember the tips above to ease the pain of the situation. The reduction in force and reorganization will bring tough times for the remaining staff, and it is up to you to ease and comfort them to improve productivity.