Pyn • Challenging Comms

Manager communication for employees post-layoff

After company-wide layoffs, your remaining employees are looking to you, their manager, for answers and support going forward. 

Here is a sample script for talking with your team after layoffs:

I wanted to meet with you all to follow up on the news of the layoffs that happened earlier today. As you may know, [number] members of our team have been laid off. The company has provided them with a severance package and is working with them through this transition. I know many of you are probably wondering about job security. Of course, I can’t make any guarantees. But as far as we understand, there aren’t any other planned layoffs in our department at this time. I wanted to let you all know to reduce any fears you might have. We wish all the best to those that were affected. And I know you do too. This isn’t easy.

Pause for questions.

If there are no other questions, I wanted to thank you all for coming. I appreciate your patience and understanding, and I look forward to moving beyond this difficult period.

Manage and redistribute work after layoffs

After the layoff, you will need to divide tasks and responsibilities thoughtfully. Be mindful to not overload or overwhelm employees with the tasks of those who were laid off. They may still be grieving the layoff, may disagree with it, or have survivors' guilt.

There may also be some employees who are afraid of losing their job too and won’t say anything even if they are overwhelmed. All of these reactions can affect morale and motivation.

To manage and redistribute work after layoffs, meet with small groups of employees or 1-1 if your team is small. Be honest about the reality of what work will be like now. Then, ask your employees how they feel about it and give them space to share their thoughts. It’s better to do this out in the open. 

Let them know how you will reprioritize their work and eliminate unnecessary tasks. If there is restructuring you need to do, involve your team. Discuss how the difficult short-term steps will positively affect the future. Let them know that leadership is on board and supportive. Explain that you and others from the management team will be available to discuss any questions. Sincerely thank everyone for their understanding and for their effort. Repeat this cycle as needed. 

How to manage motivation and grief 

Layoffs can be traumatic for remaining employees. They are likely grieving the loss of their co-workers while also feeling anxious about their own job security, what their role will look like now, and more. Because of this, employees may not be capable of performing exactly as they have in the past. This is normal - don’t expect an immediate return to normal productivity. Instead, learn how to coach employees through their grief and manage motivation during this time. 

If you notice any of the behaviors mentioned above, you will need to figure out what the person needs most. Some need to talk it out. Others suffer silently. Some find relief in complaining. Some will be really supportive of the change. Tailor your coaching and guidance accordingly.

How to coach

  1. First, remember it’s ok just to listen. It’s very possible employees just want to be heard and don’t necessarily want advice. Ask, “would you like me just to listen or would you like some advice?" 
  2. Remind them their emotions are legitimate and shouldn’t be ignored  - people need time for intense emotions to die down.
  3. Encourage them to be kind to themselves. Self-care is especially important at this time. 
  4. Remind them of the resources available including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). 

Additional tips for supporting your team post-layoffs 

Maintain your team rituals

Keep your daily and weekly rituals going. Familiar meeting structures like stand-ups and team meetings are important unless the group decides to change them. 

Spend quality time with the team and find ways to bond

Have a team lunch or bring some treats or throw a virtual happy hour to give the team a chance to gather as a group. Small gestures mean a lot! 

Share a positive outlook

Don't overdo this but be sure to mention the positive goals that you can accomplish this year together. Make sure to review them together as a team to help people focus on progress and the future rather than the past. 

Give extra notice to things going well

Pay more attention to rewards, recognition and helping the remaining employees feel valued and appreciated. For example, pick one employee each day and give them some specific positive feedback. 

Send this message automatically using Pyn

Back to key moment
Next Challenging Comms Pyn
How to address challenging current events
View next pyn