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Boosting Employee Engagement During and After Layoffs

Layoffs are about more than just taking care of the employees you need to let go. HR teams must take a kind, clear, and sensitive approach with the employees who are laid off, but they also need to be aware of the impact layoffs have on remaining employees and their workplace culture.

Below we’ll look at how you can boost employee engagement during and after layoffs. 

What happens to employee engagement during layoffs?

A Gallup poll found that only 36 percent of U.S. workers were engaged with their work in 2021. With engagement already low, it’s hard to imagine you’d see improvements in productivity during or after layoffs. 


Image source: Gallup


In fact, it’s not uncommon to see engagement, productivity, and trust decrease during layoffs. With the uncertainty of who may or may not be getting laid off, layoffs make for a tense and stressful office environment.

When 80 percent of workers already feel stressed on the job and 25 percent describe work as being the number one stressor in their life, the added strain of layoffs is sure to amplify those challenges.

What happens to employee engagement after layoffs?

Workplaces can be very delicate when interacting with remaining employees after layoffs. A study by the University of the Western Cape showed the effects of downsizing on its workforce. 74 percent of senior-manager respondents saw engagement and trust decrease after downsizing.

Layoffs also affect productivity and morale. A Harvard Business School study found that productivity fell by nearly 25 percent at a Fortune 500 tech firm after they cut 15 percent of their staff. When employees see their co-workers, some of whom they may be friends with, getting laid off, it’s hard to stay motivated and engaged.

There are ways, however, to maintain employee morale, productivity, and engagement; it just requires effort and a proactive approach to layoffs. 

How do you keep employees engaged during layoffs?

Keeping employees engaged during layoffs requires a multi-pronged strategy of transparency, communication, and a sense of commitment and support for your employees. How do you do this? 

It starts with communication. If employees understand exactly why the layoffs need to occur, they will more likely accept the decision more gracefully. Be clear, transparent, and direct. It will help if you can explain how you tried alternatives and how layoffs are the only solution moving forward. 

Providing a clearly-written layoff letter will help employees answer any questions they might have and leave them with something tangible they can turn to in the immediate aftermath of the news. 

Finally, show your commitment and support for your employees with a layoff assist program likeCrosschq Assist which is a free resource to help bridge employees into the next step of their careers. When employees are being laid off and have a support system to make their next career move, you can expect stress levels to decrease and a boost to morale/engagement. 

Employees need to feel safe before they can head back to work in a healthy and engaged manner. Understanding your company’s new vision and knowing they will have the tools to succeed in the future will enable employees to be productive and engaged during layoffs.

How do you keep employees engaged after layoffs?

If you’ve done everything you could to keep employees engaged during layoffs, then you’ve won half the battle. Your remaining employees should be privy to the commitment you demonstrated to your employees through open communication, transparency, and support systems you offered ex-employees during layoffs. 

Still, there’s more you can do for remaining employees after layoffs. SHRM suggests employers be clear about how job responsibilities will be redistributed prior to the layoffs. When hiring teams know exactly how the reshuffling of roles and duties will occur, they can more efficiently and effectively organize employees and execute that redistribution of duties. 

Training employees after layoffs can also increase engagement. Your remaining employees should feel more confident and safe knowing that they are getting the support they need during the transition. They will also feel more equipped to meet the challenges of your company’s new corporate structure and needs. 


How Crosschq can help with employee layoff assistance


Crosschq can help your laid off employees by connecting them to Crosschq’s talent 

community, recruiters, and sourcing database. Crosschq Assist is a comprehensive layoff assistance solution that will help you connect your laid off employees to the next step in their careers.

With Crosschq Assist, you can demonstrate the value you have in all of your employees, boost employee engagement, maintain morale, and create a positive company culture. See how Crosschq can help your company navigate your layoff and help your alumni staff get back to work faster. Ask us how.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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