Laying people off is difficult. Picking up the pieces after a lay-off is even harder. The survivors, who are “the lucky ones”, are forced to take on more of the work, put in additional hours and in some cases take a pay cut. Your first instinct might be to jump right in and help with the tasks that must be done. A noble thought. However, your employees need more than another set of helping hands. They need a strong leader, who can help them move swiftly through this difficult period of time.
The following five tips will help you get your team back on track after a lay-off:
1. Give people time to grieve – Operating as if business is as usual is a mistake. Business is anything but usual. Give your employees a few days to process what has just occurred. Provide them with an opportunity to voice their concerns. Let them talk, while you listen.
2. Be empathetic – Acknowledge the losses that have just occurred. Keep in mind many people may have watched their friends, and possibly family members lose their jobs.
3. Communicate the new vision and direction – Employees need to know where the company is now heading. Be sure you provide them with as much information as you can regarding any changes in the mission and vision of the organization.
4. Clarify new roles and responsibilities – No matter how senior your employees are, they will need direction. Re-allocate the workload and communicate the changes. Be prepared to provide training, where necessary.
5. Acknowledge all successes – It’s easy to be so focused on long-term objectives that you miss the small wins that are occurring all around you. Celebrate all successes, not matter how big or small.
This is an opportunity to shine as a leader and stand out in the crowd. Feel free to post comments regarding tips that can help other managers lead after a lay-off.
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