The most challenging time for employees and employers is layoffs. This is the moment when the remaining employees have to be adjusted to fill up the gaps left by their laid-off co-workers. It is also the period when the company has to re-engage the remaining staff members to earn their trust and improve productivity. Downsizing employees triggers layoff anxiety, especially if there is no good communication from the HR professionals. That is why the human resources department needs to talk about communicating layoffs to your current team of workers.

Although telling employees about restructuring your workforce is bad news, it can also help prevent rumor mills and small talk from creating fear, anger, and sadness in retained employees. On the other hand, providing outplacement services to affected employees demonstrates that your company offers support to all staff. Below are three tips to consider when communicating layoffs to remaining employees.

Tip 1: Provide Detailed Information About the Layoff

Open communication is essential in planning, implementing, and executing employee layoffs. However, this is not an easy task given that some employees will not take in this information in good faith. The remaining ones may even develop survivor guilt and anxiety about your layoff action. But these feelings are just normal in such a situation.

You can pacify your remaining employees by treating them humanely and compassionately to ease their tension. If possible use available communication features like digital signage to share your remorse with your retained employees. Better still highlight your company’s plans on video walls or wayfinding digital signage to make your workers trust you again.

Most importantly, create time from your busy schedule to provide facts and detailed information regarding your business decision to initiate the layoff process. In your detailed report include this vital piece of information:

  • Why employee layoff is happening
  • The number of employees affected by your decision
  • Who in particular was affected by the layoff process
  • How the decision to resort to staff reduction was reached
  • What benefits and severance packages were awarded to the affected employees following your layoff action
  • How the reduction in force (RIF) will help steer the company to the next level

Although you may not have enough time to cover all of the above-listed factors when communicating layoffs to remaining employees, you can just prepare an effective communication plan about the situation at hand. Make sure to communicate with your retained workers as much as possible to help eliminate the fear of the unknown from them. Aside from that allow them to ask questions about the whole layoff process up to post-layoff. Provide straight-to-the-point answers that will erase any doubts regarding your employee layoff action.

Tip 2: Hold Group Meetings with Your Remaining Employees

Apart from having a proper communication plan in place, create some time to hold group meetings with your retained employees. Let these meetings look similar to your usual offboarding meeting to keep them informed about the ongoing workforce changes.

Holding such meetings will help avoid speculation about what is happening within your company. Through these meetings, you will assure your remaining staff that everything is fine and that they should not have any concern about losing their job. Remember, a lack of proper communication with your retained employees can cause layoff anxiety. Some workers may even resort to absconding from their duties or rendering resignation in the masses.

When workers are fearful of getting fired or losing their jobs, their loyalty and productivity are reduced significantly. So, calling them to a meeting and communicating layoffs to them can easily forestall layoff anxiety.

You may choose to hold one major group meeting with your retained employees or schedule numerous smaller meetings depending on how busy you are. Whichever way you choose, make sure you have a script ready with you so you don’t forget important details. Also, hold the meeting promptly, preferably on the same day or a few hours after the affected employees have been served with a layoff notification. This is to stop rumor mills or small talk from undermining your effort to contain the situation.

Tip 3: Clarify Any Changes in Duties

Layoffs come and go but the company operations must still go. But the playoffs are likely to change the shape of your organization by shifting its operational structure. Layoffs will also compel you to reshuffle workloads. They will make your retained workforce assume duties that were previously done by laid-off employees.

With that being said, make sure to clarify any changes made to your workforce structure. If need be, illustrate how individual workloads have changed and state your new expectations to your remaining staff. The best time to do this is when you are communicating layoffs to remaining employees.

Final Thought

Communicating layoffs to remaining employees should be your next step after initiating a layoff process. Create a communication plan that will enable you to respond positively to the feelings of affected employees and remaining staff. Use the tips discussed above to restructure your workforce and improve productivity within your company.