How to Support Your Team Amid Layoffs

CoffeePals Team
CoffeePals Team
April 12, 2024
How to Support Your Team Amid Layoffs

Uncertain times often call for drastic measures, and organizations occasionally find themselves forced to make tough decisions. Among these, one of the most emotionally charged is implementing layoffs.

From a strategic standpoint, layoffs might be necessary for the business's survival and sustainability. However, it's important to remember that they often take a heavy toll on the emotional well-being and morale of the employees affected, underscoring the need for leaders to provide support and understanding.


Over 191,000 tech workers were laid off in 2023. This year, at least 31,900 tech workers have been laid off before the 2nd quarter.

For leaders, navigating through layoffs is a delicate balance between corporate pragmatism and human empathy. It's a way of recognizing that while these measures might be essential for the organization's viability, they also signify significant upheaval and distress for those directly impacted. In times like these, the role of leadership extends beyond the boardroom, encompassing the critical task of supporting and nurturing team members through the storm.

Here are some tips on how leaders can effectively support their teams amid layoffs.

1. Be transparent and honest.

Transparency builds trust within the team. When employees perceive that information is being withheld or sugarcoated, it can erode trust in leadership and the organization.

Transparency and honesty will also reduce anxiety. Providing clear and honest communication helps alleviate fears and uncertainty among team members by giving them a better understanding of the situation.

In the spirit of transparency, make sure you are prepared to answer questions like:

  • Why is the organization implementing layoffs or redundancies?
  • How will the layoffs affect the team and individual roles?
  • What support will be provided to those directly affected by the layoffs?
  • What steps is the organization taking to ensure the long-term stability and success of the remaining team members?
  • What are the criteria used for selecting individuals for layoffs?

Remember that transparency demonstrates respect for your team members, so don’t hesitate to answer these questions and share important information with them. It shows that you value their intelligence and maturity enough to share difficult information with them openly.

2. Check in with your team members.

Layoffs can create a sense of uncertainty and insecurity among team members. Regular check-ins provide reassurance and help maintain morale by demonstrating that leadership cares about the team's well-being.

Remember that these check-ins should not only ensure that productivity and quality standards are maintained but also examine the mental and emotional health of team members.

Here are some tips on how to effectively check in on team members amid layoffs:

  • Schedule regular meetings: Establish a schedule for check-in meetings with individual team members or smaller groups. These meetings should be more frequent than usual, especially in the immediate aftermath of layoffs.
  • Create a safe space: Foster an environment of trust and openness where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and emotions. Assure them that the conversations are confidential and judgment-free.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Encourage team members to express themselves by asking open-ended questions beyond work-related topics. Inquire about their well-being, how they are coping with the changes, and if they need any support.
  • Listen actively: Practice active listening during check-in meetings, paying attention not only to what is being said but also to the emotions behind the words. Show empathy and understanding, and validate their feelings and experiences.

By implementing these tips, leaders can effectively check on team members amid layoffs, providing support, reassurance, and guidance during this challenging time.

support during layoffs

3. Offer reassurance to remaining team members.

While leaders may support team members who were laid off, remember that your main priority is ensuring remaining team members stay engaged. Layoffs can create a sense of anxiety and uncertainty among remaining team members, and reassurance helps alleviate these feelings by providing clarity and stability.

Studies show that team members who remain with the organization after a series of layoffs experience a 20% decline in job performance, a 36% dip in organizational commitment, and a 41% decrease in job satisfaction.

When offering reassurance to remaining team members, consider the following tips:

  • Acknowledge feelings: Validate the emotions that team members may be experiencing, such as uncertainty or apprehension, and assure them that their feelings are normal and understandable.
  • Highlight strengths: Remind team members of their individual and collective strengths, emphasizing their value to the organization and their contributions to its success.
  • Lead by example: Demonstrate confidence, optimism, and resilience as a leader. Your attitude and behavior set the tone for the entire team, so model a positive mindset and a proactive approach to navigating challenges.

Proactively reassuring remaining team members and addressing their concerns will help stabilize morale, foster trust, and support the team's continued success amid layoffs and organizational changes.

4. Help them protect themselves.

Whether team members get laid off or remain in the organization, it's crucial to help them protect their long-term career development. Here are some tips to assist team members in safeguarding themselves amid layoffs:

  • Help them understand their rights: Team members should familiarize themselves with their employment rights, including entitlements to severance pay, notice periods, and any benefits they may be entitled to upon termination. Knowing their rights can empower them to advocate for themselves during layoffs.
  • Help them widen their network: Encourage team members to build and nurture their professional networks within and outside the organization. Networking can open doors to new opportunities, provide valuable support during transitions, and enhance career prospects in the long run.
  • Remind them to update their resumes and LinkedIn profiles: Team members should regularly update their resumes and LinkedIn profiles to reflect their most recent achievements, skills, and experiences. Keeping these documents current ensures they are prepared to seize new opportunities.
  • Help them diversify their skills: Encourage team members to diversify their skills and expertise to make themselves more marketable in a competitive job market. This may involve pursuing additional training and certifications or learning new technologies relevant to their field.
  • Help them stay informed about industry trends: Encourage team members to stay informed about industry trends, market dynamics, and emerging opportunities. Keeping abreast of developments in their field can help them anticipate changes and position themselves strategically for future success.

By following these tips, leaders can help team members protect themselves and their long-term career development amid layoffs or organizational changes.

support network during layoffs

5. Create a support network.

Layoffs can be emotionally challenging, so creating a support network for team members amid layoffs is important. A support network provides a safe space for individuals to express their feelings, share experiences, and receive empathy and encouragement from their peers.

To create a support network for team members amid layoffs, consider the following steps:

  • Provide resources: Offer resources and information, such as job search websites, professional development opportunities, or networking events, to support team members in their career transition. Ensure that these resources are easily accessible and regularly updated.
  • Organize support groups: Facilitate the formation of support groups or peer-to-peer mentoring programs where team members can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. These groups can provide emotional support, practical advice, and accountability.
  • Encourage participation: Encourage team members to actively participate in the support network and contribute their knowledge, experiences, and resources to benefit others. Create opportunities for individuals to share their expertise and assist their peers.
  • Facilitate communication: Establish channels such as group chats, online forums, or regular meetings where individuals can connect and share experiences to encourage open communication and collaboration among team members.

Virtual coffee chat platforms like CoffeePals also facilitate communication amid layoffs. Because it provides a venue for open and relaxed communication, team members can feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and emotions in a casual setting. These informal conversations allow for deeper connections to form among team members, fostering a sense of camaraderie and support during challenging times.

Add CoffeePals to your Microsoft Teams now and give your team members all the support they need during times of uncertainty.

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