3 Ways to Boost Morale When Employees Are Laid Off

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Who’s your go-to person at work? I’m talking about that one co-worker you talk to about everything and who always has your back. Now, imagine walking into work one day and finding out your teammate is being laid off.

This is exactly what happened to Tina and Mary. As work-friends, they had each other’s backs without fail. When one was confused or behind on the day’s tasks, the other would jump in to relieve stress and pressure from the situation. That’s why when Tina was given notification of getting laid off, Mary felt betrayed by the company.

With so much stress after employees are laid off or fired, managers tend to focus only on the person being let-go. However, often those left behind are greatly affected by these decisions as well. In Mary’s case, manager’s weren’t proactive or communicative about the situation. Leaving Mary open to feeling sabotaged and looking for new career opportunities.

Here’s why your employees may feel sabotaged after a layoff or firing:

Work on top of work

Workload shock after an employee leaves for any reason can break your team’s spirits. However, when sometimes is laid off or fired, employees may connect the overwhelming workload directly back to management. Unfortunately, salaried employees feel especially betrayed because they don’t get compensated for extra hours.

Allowing this type of shock to shake your company’s foundation will result in quality employees looking for work elsewhere. That’s why it’s important to address the issue head-on. Be transparent with your team. Let them know you not only see how much effort they’re putting in, but that you appreciate everything they’re accomplishing.

Stress related to a heaping pile of work makes employees feel the dark days will never end. So, put a timeline on when you expect them to find relief, either with a new hire or because a slower time in business is coming.

Also, begin hosting weekly meetings. This will allow employees to voice their concerns, brainstorm ideas to help each other, and keep you informed on the state of company morale.

The reasoning behind the layoff/firing is unknown

When the reasoning behind someone being laid off or fired is left up to the imagination of employees or the explanation of those leaving, negativity can easily creep in and grow. Fear and anger surrounding an exit will quickly disengage and demotivate your team.

Keeping employees in the loop with a brief explanation can calm wild imaginations and negative rumors. Actively boost morale and reassure your team by recognizing their efforts. Send regular shout out emails calling out all those who’ve done something awesome, utilize online platforms to give out redeemable points/gifts, and when fitting, make it even more personable by walking through the halls and recognizing everyone for their efforts.

Negativity from previous employee

Most company leaders have dealt with the backlash of a former employee in some way. Bitter employees, especially those who are fired, have the ability to antagonize your workplace culture from afar.

For example, if the only side of the story Mary hears is Tina’s, Mary’s respect and passion for her company will dwindle. If leaders aren’t proactive about the situation, the negativity will continue spreading.

If you know co-workers were close, pull your current employee aside for a one-on-one meeting. Let them know you understand they may have some questions and concerns surrounding the issue, and you’re willing to openly discuss the issues.  

How do you help comfort employees after a co-worker gets laid off or fired? Let us know!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.