Layoffs are an unfortunate reality in the workplace. Employees often bear the brunt during a period of downsizing and cost cutting but this practice has other ramifications within the organization as well. People managers are often caught between the uppermost decision makers and the people being laid off. These managers can suffer for a variety of reasons :
How do layoffs Affects People Managers
Layoffs can have lasting effects on your people managers. Some of these include:
These managers often are the ones delivering the bad news to team members they have worked closely with for months, sometimes years. This takes an immense toll on the psyche of a manager, especially one who’s proud of their team members. Somehow, a decision they had no part in making can dismantle their team, its norms and functioning. If they have formed deep working ties with their team members, they may feel guilty, upset, and heartbroken about having to let them go.
Team members who were not laid off may have anxiety and insecurity over the future of their employment, which will reduce productivity and participation. They could harbor anger toward the organization and the management who were forced to fire employees. They may also question the competency of the management and decision makers. After a layoff, managers will need to put in a lot of effort to restore team confidence, communication, and morale.
Erosion Of Trust
A layoff decision made higher up in the company can also have significant effects on a manager’s reputation. A manager’s reputation and relationships with team members, coworkers, and other stakeholders may suffer if they are thought to be the cause of the layoff. This problem is exacerbated when the layoffs are thought to be arbitrary or unjust. This can make it difficult for managers to maintain an uplifting and effective workplace.
How To Manage Layoffs
Managing layoffs plays a key role. You may want to consider these 3 alternatives to layoffs if you want to protect yourselves from the effects it has on your people managers. In case you feel you cannot avoid layoffs, a few ways to manage them include:
Be Open and Honest
Even before the layoffs happen, good leaders should inform their employees about the oncoming situation or atleast give them an active and actual view of the situation. Trust is very hard to gain once it’s been eroded. This can reduce anxiety greatly for all the employees by providing much needed clarity to the employees.
Once the decision is final, be very direct and humane with your team members. As much as it may pain them and even you, this information will hurt a lot less for them coming from their own manager and friend rather than a mail or message. (Don’t do what Google did). This also increases your credibility in front of the remaining employees.
The employee being laid off will certainly be panicking or be in a state of despair. Leaders can help by assisting the person in updating their resume and floating it around for them. This shows sincerity and compassion. This will not only help the outgoing employee, but also portray a trustable and positive image to the remaining employees. This in turn preserves company culture by not allowing the layoffs to have detrimental effects on the company.
The privacy of those involved must be respected and managers should do their best not to let things like this become a point of gossip around the office. This can breed anxiety and distrust. In order to avoid this, communicate the change in terms with the employees in a private setting.
Managers and workers should be able to see and reach the CEO. When the CEO is willing to personally address the managers and staff with the reasoning for such harsh measures and what he or she feels will be their impact on the company’s future, that individual has a significant influence. The CEO should, at the absolute least, provide managers a prepared written statement that they may convey to all staff members. This shows clarity of thought and accountability on the leadership’s part.
In general, layoffs may affect people managers in a variety of ways, which emphasizes the significance of proper preparation and communication when executing layoffs. Companies may decrease the adverse effects of layoffs on managers and their teams by being open and empathetic.