Layoff Blues – Pay attention to those who stay!


Employee morale, productivity and effectiveness in a “downsizing world” For over twenty five (25) years of I had the opportunity to learn and observe how companies and organizations deal with the good times and bad. Sure when profit margins are in the 60% range and revenue is double digit growth year over year, its easy to do team building and performance management to make sure your people are motivated, creative, happy and productive. But how they handle adversity, so called “tough times and rough road” really shows a companies true colors.

Unfortunately, what becomes a very common symptom to a companies right sizing efforts is forgetting how to deal with their number #1 asset- the employee’s who stay. Now more than ever effective workplace conflict resolution becomes important and an integral part of a companies retention strategy as does the ability to understand and work through the challenges those employee’s who are staying will face day in and day out. They will become distracted, de-motivated, less productive and create conflict. This will lead to disaster.The good news is you can avoid this by one simple rule- Over Communicate as much as possible.

That’s right when was the last time you worked somewhere that “over communicated” the companies goals, priorities, profit & loss status, new customer pipeline and bonded through the process? A new trend is for employee’s to require that as part of their “stay on” package. They want to be first to know and in the know, not on the sidelines. Early results from several companies who made the promise to be open and forthright with communications on job status to their employee’s are reaping the rewards. It can work and does very effectively if you do it right. It does not have to be over the top as an example one company simply implemented “Pizza Friday’s” where all the employees could get an update from the executive team on where things could and ask questions. Granted, it was not easy at first but its coming along and people can deal with the truth. As the legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said “Never confuse activity with achievement” and when it comes to communication that means keep it simple and honest.

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