Post-Layoffs: How to Boost Your Team's Productivity

By Kaitlin Hurtado on May 11, 2023

Boosting team morale and productivity can be a daunting task for any employer or manager, but after a rough round of layoffs, the task can seem even more impossible than ever before. Boosting productivity after the pandemic faces many challenges, from having to maintain work-from-home or hybrid routines to onboarding new hires without ever meeting them face-to-face. With layoffs in the mix, you may be facing a team with lower morale, and a team feeling a whole lot less productive. CNBC reports that among companies based in the United States, announced layoffs were up 172% in the fourth quarter of 2022 – cutting more than 154,000 jobs.

While layoffs are emotional and can make anyone uneasy, a job remains and you may find an entire team struggling post-layoffs. Keep reading for tips on how to boost your team’s productivity post-layoffs.

Photo: Pexels

Maintain open communication

When layoffs happen, people know. Whether it was a mass email, or coworkers passing information through tight-knit friendships outside of the office, the news of lay-offs and any events and emotions related to them can spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, any issues or concerns can be swept under the rug for a multitude of reasons, from current employees fearing retaliation to management being unsure how to address losing members of their team.

When things are left unsaid, or employees feel like they aren’t getting clear communication, things are bound to go awry. Like in any situation, a lack of clear communication is bound to spark a rumor mill of misinformation that can make a tricky situation even harder to navigate. Hosting a company-wide town hall after layoffs can provide clear context to the company situation after layoffs, giving employees the chance to understand what is going on around the layoffs and stay informed.

Employees may feel distrustful of management, or maybe in constant fear that their job is going to be next in line to go. In turn, they may feel less motivated to perform as they have in the past.  Feelings of insecurity can lead to a decrease in productivity across the board. Post-layoffs make an effort to maintain clear communication with your team, from how their workload is being impacted and what they can expect in the future in their current position.

Recognize the efforts of your team

The period of time after layoffs may be full of negativity, from grief over losing close coworkers to fear that their position may get the same treatment soon. To shift gears post-layoffs, put effort into acknowledging your team and giving them some well-deserved recognition. In a time when they are likely worried about their position in the company and how stable their place in the company is, recognition can go a long way in providing much-needed reassurance.

Recognition efforts do not necessarily mean throwing together an entirely new reward and recognition program in the span of a week but making a conscious effort to ensure your team members feel appreciated for their work and contributions.

Don’t limit the recognition to a simple “nice job,” but highlight and spotlight accomplishments and milestones specific to each team member to emphasize their personal contributions to the team.

Set goals

For many employees, a major question that comes up post-layoffs is “What’s Next?” What’s next for the company? What’s next for the team? What’s next for their specific role? Leaving this major question unanswered can lead to miscommunication, frustration, and an extreme loss of motivation if employees find themselves questioning what their role in the company looks like in the short-term and long-term post-layoffs.

Take the time after layoffs to emphasize goals and purpose for employees. What does their work ultimately contribute to? How does their specific role and contributions fit into the bigger picture of the team and company? When employees can recognize and acknowledge their part in the company and how their contributions make an impact, they will feel more motivated to maintain productivity and feel less restless when they aren’t constantly questioning their current role post-layoffs.

In the wake of layoffs, explore opportunities that remain available to employees. Are they able to explore opportunities to cross-train to pick up more skills or work experience outside of their current position? Shifting gears to explore how employees can work toward career growth, rather than fixate on layoffs can boost productivity when employees find a new purpose in their work.

Boosting productivity after layoffs can be a difficult task for any manager. The best thing you can do is be proactive in the time post-layoffs, getting ready to hit the ground running and preparing your employees to be motivated amidst changes. Taking the time to touch base and reconnect with your employees post-layoffs will only benefit everyone in the long run.

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