Executive Coaching Articles

7 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated During Layoffs

What’s the difference between a recession and a depression? A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours.

That old joke doesn’t get many laughs, especially in today’s troubling economic climate. Layoffs can be traumatic, not only for those who leave the payroll, but for the so-called “survivors” who often find themselves not only picking up the pieces, but also the additional work of their departed coworkers.

It can be tough to keep yourself and those around you motivated during this difficult period. But here are some tips that might help.

7 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated During Layoffs

  1. Tell the truth. Be honest with your employees. The more honest you are, the more they will feel supported and less fearful. Many will fear the worst and if you share an honest picture about what’s going on, the worst isn’t as bad as they may think.
  2. Share the entire situation with them. Tell them everything you know. The more knowledge and information they have about what is really going on and what is actually happening, the easier it is for them to accept the situation. And don’t be afraid to admit the things you don’t know.
  3. Treat them as you would like to be treated. Appreciate what is going on for them. They know that layoffs are occurring and they could be next. As you treat your employees as you wish to be treated, you will respond directly to their actual issues, concerns and insecurity.
  4. Focus on the future. By focusing on the future, you will help motivate them toward something positive. Help them become aware of the promising things, projects, activities and ideas that they could look forward to. You want them to get excited about something in the future.
  5. Identify what is positive now. Even though the current situation may look bleak, remind them that they have a job and the business is still solid. As they embrace their current job security, they will find that they can continue to develop and grow in their current positions. By focusing on improving the current situation, you can seize on opportunities that weren’t present before.
  6. Teach them how to work with less. With less staff, resources and the need to get done more with less, your employees will need to know how to navigate this type of situation. Learning how to delegate more, find initiatives that you can get involved in and share the projects with others. Also, look for low priority work that can be delayed or eliminated.
  7. Share the workload. Workload is a huge concern. Your employees are probably wondering, “I’m already overwhelmed. How can take on any more?” Sit down with your boss and see how you can re-allocate the work so it spreads more evenly across the people in your group. You’ll reduce stress by having a more balanced workload.

Do you need help keeping employees motivated?