How to Retain Engagement after a Staff Reduction


By Kathleen Teehan

A reduction in staffing is extremely disruptive to the organization, the transitioning employees and all who remain in the organization (yourself included).  Individual’s involved may experience a range of emotional reactions including grief: denial, shock, anger, and finally acceptance. Remaining employees experience various levels of mourning, which experts often refer to as “Survivor Syndrome.

Thoughtful, empathetic leadership and following these 4 key strategies will help with employee morale and allow individuals to regain confidence and contribute to the future success of the business.

  • Deliver a Consistent Message: Alignment and uniformity regarding the reason for the downsizing or reorganization is vital. Conflicting messages will increase an employee’s uncertainty about their future and erode trust in the leadership team.

  • Provide Clear Direction: Articulate the company’s strategy to move forward, and set clear, attainable and realistic short-term goals for each employee so they know how they fit into it.  Provide ongoing constructive feedback on each person’s progress.

  • Communicate Frequently: During this period, it is impossible to over-communicate. Set up regular “town hall” meetings, keep an open-door policy, and block off office hours on your calendar, allowing high accessibility to all employees.  Information flow should be bountiful, and interactions must be natural and authentic. In a larger organization, consider publishing an internal newsletter, setting up a hotline, or offering change management workshops.

  • Conduct Career Development Conversations: Organizations cannot promise job security, but they can help employees proactively manage their careers.  Facilitate conversations that help employees define their strengths, interests and goals, and specifically how they can leverage these to grow within the organization. Encourage attendance at industry events, blogging, volunteering on a committee, and networking to help them develop their personal brand.

To speak with the ClearRock team about Career Transitioning, we’d be happy to schedule a time to talk.