Layoffs usually happen over a day or two, but the impacts can play out over months. Retained employees may grapple with anxiety from the sudden change and survivor’s guilt. Managers in the middle of it all must communicate tough news with empathy, reorient to lead newly structured teams, and take care of their own emotional needs. Departing employees step into a world of unknowns.

Unaddressed, these experiences can become obstacles for both individuals and the workforce. Uncertainty and stress compound, undermining engagement and causing burnout. A sense of guilt can chip away at a remaining employee’s connection to purpose and meaning. Productivity falls as familiar systems change.

Supporting your people through this process is critical to keeping your business moving forward. To succeed, you’ll need to support three segments of your workforce with specific skills of resilience.

Retained employees need resilience skills to adapt and thrive.

Harvard Business Review reports that after a layoff, survivors experienced a 41% decline in job satisfaction, a 36% decline in organizational commitment, and a 20% decline in job performance. Key staff may then choose to exit. In one study, layoffs targeting only 1% of the workforce led to an average 31% increase in voluntary turnover.

Key areas to support

Your people will experience a range of emotions during and after a layoff. meQ offers targeted resilience training content to complement your employee communications and support in these key areas:

  • Stress from uncertainty and fear of change
  • Anxiety about their future at the company
  • Sadness over losing coworkers
  • Stress or burnout from lost knowledge and resources
  • Managing survivor’s guilt
  • Ensuring psychological safety
  • Addressing change fatigue

The key to retaining employees lies in equipping them with personalized, substantive resilience skills. This upskilling can meet employees where they need it most — from understanding the influence of mindset on their reactions, to regaining focus and purpose, managing stress, and emotion control.

Managers need tools to lead with empathy and prevent burnout.

In a study of manager behavior during and after layoffs, Human Resources Management found that “managers reported that they had become ‘calloused’ or ‘numb,’ that they did not want to get ‘close to people until things stabilize,’ and that they wanted to ‘tune out and shut down.’”

Recent research from UKG also suggests that a manager has a greater impact on an employee’s health than a doctor or therapist. Checked-out or overwhelmed managers have significant power to drag down your workforce’s engagement and productivity.

But managers equipped with resilience tools can stay focused, lead continuously with empathy, maintain their own self-care, and model resilience. When so much rests on your managers’ shoulders, resilience is their foundation.

Departing employees need continued support.

Most employers feel a strong sense of responsibility to ensure a respectful process. Often those departing are valued employees, and the trust of your remaining workforce may depend on a supportive, helpful experience.

A digital, affordable, and scalable resilience training solution can be part of an offboarding package for as long as you specify. Departing employees will likely never need well-being support more than they do now.

meQ supports all your people through a workforce reduction.

As the leader in developing workforce resilience, meQ supports HR teams through uncertainty, delivering higher job engagement and productivity. meQ reduces employee burnout by 25%, and our customers see 10-29% less turnover.

In addition to our digital resilience training solution, we have a curated set of materials to support remaining employees, managers, and departing employees with activities from world-class experts. Our workforce intelligence data also help you track how teams are doing over time.

Let us help you prepare your workforce to face uncertainty and disruption. Contact a meQ specialist today.