Layoffs are a sad reality of business, but they’re something that every executive has to deal with at some point. When you’re in the midst of making layoffs and work becomes stressful, it can be easy to lose focus on those who remain after the layoffs have been made.
Layoffs cause your top performers to become unsettled and vulnerable to recruiters, putting your company at risk of losing them after the downsizing period has ended. Most companies, when they have to do layoffs, cut as deep as they can afford to, avoid future cuts.
However, this means that any voluntary attrition or turnover contagion is particularly painful, as the company has already eliminated any slack in the organization. When an organization is operating at its leanest, having to find time to source, recruit, and hire new candidates comes at the expense of other critical initiatives.
To combat this problem, here are some tips to prevent your best people from leaving after layoffs:
Keep Updating Them About Company Plans
It is critically important to keep your top performers in the loop about company plans. Especially when a sudden layoff announcement means the departure of some of their colleagues, you want to reassure your top performers that the company is now stabilized and ready to grow again, and you are still committed to their professional growth and development.
Also make sure they know how valued they are. By keeping open lines of communication that reinforce their stability and opportunities to continue to grow in the company, this helps ensure they don’t take advantage of the opportunity to interview elsewhere when it presents itself—and top performers are typically most targeted by recruiters!
Give Them Tools
The best way to keep your top performers is by giving them the tools they need to succeed in their jobs. Some of the best “tools” you can give them to stay happy and thriving are giving them opportunities for career growth, flexible work hours and generous benefits.
You also want to make sure that you are valuing their ideas, opinions and feedback. What are the roadblocks that stand in the way of them doing their best work, and being their best selves, and how can you remove those roadblocks?
Build Relationships With Colleagues
It’s always important to reach out and get to know your employees, but it is especially critical when you’re going through layoffs. The last thing you want is a disgruntled employee who was let go and feels like they’re owed more. The best way to prevent this from happening is by building relationships with your colleagues before the layoffs happen. You need to be open about the financial state of your company so that everyone understands what needs to happen in order for the business to continue operating successfully.
Following layoffs, it’s important to maintain and strengthen your relationships with colleagues. Understanding who your influencers are, and what working relationships exist, can be invaluable in this process—Performica’s OrgGraph can show you exactly who your most influential employees are, so you can work with them to ensure that they’re delivering positive messages to their network.
Set Up Regular Meetings
It’s important to set up regular meetings with your top performers after a layoff in order to assure them that they’re still valued and to keep them informed of any changes. These meetings will also provide you with an opportunity to find out what concerns or questions they may have. Any time you have at-risk employees, an immediate one-on-one meeting is valuable, to make sure they understand why layoffs occur and that you truly want them to stay, and identify any risk factors that could cause them to resign.
It’s also very important to schedule a second meeting with them, about a month later, to see how things are going and make any course corrections. This second meeting demonstrates your ongoing commitment to your top performers, and that you are invested in ensuring their long-term happiness as a valued member of the team.
Ask Questions About Their Future
Keeping your best employees long-term means that you’ve created a sustainable path for them to continue to grow and develop; an important part of developing this path is understanding what drives them and how you can best support them.
Here are some questions you can ask to help build that path:
- What are your plans for the future?
- What do you like to do outside of work?
- What are your long-term goals?
- How would you like to spend your free time in five years?
- What skills or competencies are you most interested in developing?
- What projects do you find most enjoyable, and why?
- What kind of company do you want to be working for in five years?
Allow Flexibility in Scheduling
One way to help top performers stay on board after layoffs is to allow for a little more flexibility in their scheduling. One of the things that a lot of people worry about when they lose their job is not being able to spend time with family, and so allowing for flexibility in your day-to-day schedule can make them feel more secure in their position.
After layoffs, everyone who is still at the company needs to be performing at their best, and it’s common to see remaining employees overloaded with tasks and/or approaching burnout.
Allowing flexible work hours and scheduling helps your employees get the rest they vitally need in order to continue being a top performer and delivering top quality work.