Workplace Culture

How Do We Repair Engagement Following Layoffs?

By Staff Report

Apr. 17, 2013

Dear On Edge:

General workforce engagement is mostly a function of how well you create the conditions that support it. Of course, layoffs are a tremendous drain on emotional energy and engagement. What is even more demoralizing for employees is watching co-workers get the proverbial axe month after month while being completely in the dark about why, when, or what they can do about it. Such a workplace teems with rumors and speculations. Employees who feel like powerless victims will disengage even further.

However, despite the challenges, there are practical ways to re-engage the workforce that could result in remarkable business turnarounds. You can start by simply telling employees the truth about the layoffs and giving them opportunities to gain some control over their future. To do that, they will need information you may not have shared before. You will need to make employees part of the business by helping them understand the big picture and the impact they have on its success (beyond the daily tasks for which they are responsible).

Involve your employees by bringing them together for some “straight talk,” sharing the harsh realities of the marketplace and your business situation. Information you share will have to be credible. That means no spin, no hidden agendas, no manipulative language, no sugarcoating your message. Lay out the business conditions in layman’s terms, enabling employees to understand factors that contribute to the layoffs as well as the business achievement needed to prevent them in the future. Provide key metrics that illustrate both the level of achievement needed and the gap between current levels.

Your employees hold part of the solution to your problem. Ask them to suggest ways to improve costs, boost customer service, obtain new customers, or in creating breakthroughs to help the company survive the difficult period ahead. Empower them with time, resources, decision latitude, and support that will enable them to take an active part in turning things around. Provide abundant feedback and celebrate accomplishments. It’s important to create a proactive environment for employees, even if doing so does not prevent layoffs from occurring in the future. That way, employees will see the positive impact they make and stay committed to your organization’s success, knowing they have some influence over their destiny.

SOURCE: Kevin Herring, Ascent Management Consulting, Oro Valley, Arizona, February 5, 2013

LEARN MORE: Strong engagement also plays a role in retention of top performers: Do We Really Need to Still Care About Retention?

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.


blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog

Workplace Culture

5 lunch break statistics that shed light on American work culture

Summary Research shows how taking lunch breaks enhances employee engagement and productivity. Despite t...

lunch breaks, scheduling, statistics

workforce blog

Workplace Culture

6 Things Leadership can do to Prevent Nurse Burnout

Summary Nurse burnout is a serious issue in the healthcare business and has several negative consequenc...

burnout, Healthcare, hospitals, nurses

workforce blog

Workplace Culture

5 tips to reduce employee no call, no shows

Summary No call, no shows are damaging to businesses. High no call, no show rates could suggest problem...

absence, attendance, no call, no shows, time