Organizations faced hard decisions in Q4, and the downsizing continues into 2023. The question now is who the lucky ones really are. The employees who are left or the ones that got the ax?
The company workforce and leaders all face a new day with a lot on their minds. The workforce left behind constantly worries if they will be next. Will their spouse be next at their organization? How will they handle the extra workload from losing their colleagues? Extra work and uncertainty make for a challenging new culture. The longer the remaining workers are assigned additional projects and asked to put in longer hours, the more they’ll become angry, resentful, and frustrated.
There can also be a sense of loss amongst the employees who remain at the organization. If a co-workers BFF or one or more staff of a close-knit team was part of the reductions, the others who are still at the organization may consider leaving and will certainly have a period of grief. If managers and leaders don’t prepare for this, they will see a downward spiral in their workforce and culture.
Smart leaders know that top talent will be the first to find new opportunities. Leaders should promptly address why the layoffs were necessary and share what to expect next. Rally the workforce and ask how they feel and what needs to be changed, due to the circumstances. Based on feedback and constructive criticism, management should start implementing measures tailored toward retaining and enhancing the work lives of those who remain at the organization.
Layoffs are tough and might be able to be avoided by offering a temporary furlough. Furloughs allow for an opportunity for staff to return when circumstances improve. Other ideas are to convert employees to contract workers, shortened workdays, work weeks, flexible hours, hiring freezes, and buy outs for early retirement. An investment in the future can be made by training people to learn new skills. Real estate can be sold off, or companies could let their leases expire and pivot to a remote-first policy. This would save people from being part of a mass reduction.
While it may seem like the only thing to do is to enact massive layoffs when the economy is bad, it could only take three to six-plus months for the economy to turn around. It is important to consider the cost of rehiring in your plan. It could be less costly to retain your staff vs. recruiting, onboarding, training, and paying more than likely a higher salary in the long run.