HR Management & Compliance, Recruiting

How to Manage the Anxiety and Stress of Layoffs

Navigating the anxiety and stress of layoffs as a company is never an easy task. HR leaders need to tend to the needs of not only those who are being laid off but also those who will remain in their roles. At the Top Employers Institute, we certify companies that promote a culture of employee mental health and well-being. This is vital when it comes to dealing with layoffs at your organization.

Here are the steps you can follow in the event of a layoff:

Remain transparent. Managing the emotions of those not affected by the layoffs is critical to the company’s morale and productivity. One approach HR leaders can take is to be transparent with employees about the layoffs as soon as possible. This helps ease anxiety and prevent rumors or speculation from spreading. However, balancing this transparency with the fear of top performers leaving the company is essential. To accomplish this, HR may consider reassuring workers that the layoffs won’t impact all positions and that the company is taking proactive steps to secure its future.

Set realistic expectations. Furthermore, HR leaders can help support and guide remaining employees through the changes happening in the organization. Setting realistic expectations can do this, including workload, compensation, and career growth. By providing clarity and assurances to employees, they’ll be better positioned to handle the stress that often accompanies layoffs.

Stay positive. Another critical aspect of managing anxiety and stress is addressing the “survivors guilt” many employees feel when their coworkers are let go. Emphasizing the importance of staying positive, working together, and supporting those affected by the layoffs can help reduce feelings of guilt and foster a sense of unity among the team.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, managing the anxiety and stress of layoffs requires proactive communication, transparency, and support from HR leaders. By providing reassurance and guidance, companies can help employees cope with the changes ahead and promote a positive work environment.

Trevor Bogan is Regional Director of the Americas at Top Employers Institute.

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