Remote Working
4 minute read

Bouncing back – how to rebuild employee morale after redundancies

People working together outside on steps

We have looked at how to create a supportive environment during the redundancy consultancy process. But how can you help your team move forward and look towards the future with optimism? What can you do to boost morale and regain employee trust – even while working remotely?

 

Summary

  • Give employees support and time to adapt to the new reality. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
  • Reflect your new reality by revising your business plan, individual performance metrics, and learning strategy.
  • Provide support with a strong wellness program.
  • Build trust with frequent updates, open channels of communication, and a responsive attitude towards employee feedback.
  • Focus on the future by promoting cross-organisational collaboration and quick wins.

 

1. Allow people time to process.

Company leadership may be keen to look to the future after layoffs – but if you don’t allow employees time to deal with their new reality, you may find your operations take a serious hit.

Over 70% of workers who remain after corporate layoffs report increasing error rates, declining customer service, and plummeting product quality.1

Here are some suggestions to avoid a long-term drop in morale:

  • During the first weeks and months after redundancies, open up communication channels for employees to ask questions and air concerns.
  • Use Learn Amp (or your Employee Experience Platform) to set up surveys and short “pulse polls” to invite feedback and gauge the employee mood
  • A town hall-style video conference led by the CEO may be helpful. After an initial brief statement, the focus should be on addressing employee questions and acknowledging the emotional aspects of the situation.
  • Promote a sense of stability with regular follow-up communications. During times of unpredictability, employees will benefit from consistent updates. Use Learn Amp (or a similar platform) to self-record short videos from the CEO, senior management or HR leadership – keeping a human face for your organisation is critical.
  • Now is the perfect moment to show responsiveness by directly addressing concerns raised during focus groups or surveys. Respond to feedback with videos or slide decks—save all materials in Learn Amp to make sure everyone has access to these responses.
  • Get ahead of employee anxiety by providing answers to even the difficult and uncomfortable questions. And if you don’t know the answers, say so – and show how you’re planning to find them out.
  • Set up “learnlists” via your learning platform to provide helpful resources and steer employees through the process of adapting to the new reality without their former colleagues.

 

2. Adjust your expectations.

Redundancies leave a vacuum behind. To support your remaining team after the redundancies have finished:

  • You’ll need teams and managers to work collaboratively to redefine roles and identify tasks that will now need to be done by someone else.
  • As well as overhauling your general business plan for the year, you’ll also need to revise your OKRs and other performance metrics to make sure that the changes in your organisational goals are reflected at the individual level.
  • Revisiting your learning strategy is a key part of the adjustment process. Make sure that you’ve updated your learning pathways for each remaining employee to reflect any changes to their roles.

"Tying learning to performance is key for re-establishing alignment between the individual and the organisation and making it clear to each employee that they have a role to play [as you rebuild the company, together]."2

— Joe Hill-Wilson, Learn Amp

 

3. Provide support

In many cases, employees will be dealing with the fallout of redundancies while also working remotely. A remote employee wellness strategy can help keep people motivated and productive despite the increased levels of stress. Some affordable ideas for remote wellness programs include:

  • Offering free remote meditation sessions, yoga classes, or workshops on anxiety management;
  • Providing employee counselling services - companies like Sanctus specialise in workplace mental health;
  • Weekly 1:1 check-ins from line managers – with a message that health and individual well-being are a priority at all levels of the organisation;
  • A weekly well-being newsletter, encouraging employees to keep strict no-working hours and providing suggestions on stress management;
  • Authorising “mental health days” – allowing employees to take a one-day, last-minute break, no questions asked.
  • Organising virtual coffee breaks or Zoom breakfast hangouts to promote a feeling of community and support.
  • Increasing your use of asynchronous communications to avoid placing undue pressure on employees as they adjust to their new workload.

4. Promote cross-departmental collaboration

Redundancies can change the dynamics within a team, and some employees may feel they’ve lost sources of support and help. Here are some ideas for building inter-organisational collaboration, even if you’re working remotely:

  • A cross-team hackathon with a focus on the future can be a great way to shift mindsets from crisis to recovery. You might want to bring teams together to work on a key organisational goal, or even create a cross-departmental task force to focus on the kind of company you want to be from now on.
  • Growth consultants Insight Partners recommend building employee trust in your new business strategy by adjusting your quarterly OKRs to target “quick wins” – goals that are achievable in the short term and that can help increase employee confidence.3 Prioritise goals that will involve multiple teams working together.
  • All-hands meetings with the CEO on a frequent basis can create a “we’re all in this together” feeling. To keep these forward-focused, use them as an opportunity to address employee suggestions and feedback and show how you’re responding to and learning from the redundancy process.

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.leadershipiq.com/blogs/leadershipiq/29062401-dont-expect-layoff-survivors-to-be-grateful
  2. https://elearningindustry.com/how-tie-learning-to-performance-for-outstanding-business-results-competency-framework
  3. https://www.insightpartners.com/blog/navigating-a-team-downsizing/