Keeping Your Team Motivated Following Layoffs

Posted May 30, 2018 in Member Spotlight

In today’s business environment, many organizations are faced with the need to squeeze and cut costs. When this results in layoffs, leaders are faced with the challenge of keeping motivation levels up with those who are left behind. Feelings of fear and uncertainty are prevalent, and, there are fewer resources left to deliver on results at a time when the stakes are high. So, how do you keep a team motivated, while also weathering the changes yourself

We asked Roundtable mentors, Jaspreet Sandhu, Director of Loyalty and Engagement at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Jennifer Campbell, Marketing Strategy Leader at the United Way Canada,  to share their thoughts on this. Here are their tips:

Check in with yourself first.

Pause and take some time to acknowledge the loss that you are experiencing. Consider the impact of these changes on you, your team and the organization. Find a place from which you will be motivated so that you can bring a genuine outlook of positivity to your team.

Get Clear on the organizational messages and information that you need to represent.

It’s important that the information you present is consistent and credible. Be sure that you are clear on the organization’s vision and plan to move forward so that you can share that with our team.

Communicate honestly, openly and frequently.

Like with most aspects of leadership, communication matters. Ensure that all members of the team are getting the same message. Encourage and create opportunities for open and honest dialogues to help alleviate fears and keep the rumour mill quiet.

Be accessible.

Now is not the time to close the door of your office. Making yourself accessible helps people who may be hesitant to speak up in a group setting, and also helps you to assess the general “buzz” and sense of how people were coping.

Focus on how you will move forward.

Provide your team with an updated sense of direction, including the vision, priorities, expectations and opportunities. Consider how you can frame things to them so that they can see future goals clearly and with positivity. Let them know if there are any specific projects that need to be reprioritized, or that may no longer be important.

Revisit the work and how people are aligned with the work.

Just as you may need to adjust future goals for the team, goals may also need to be adjusted for each team member. This is an opportunity to revisit how work is being aligned and if there are any skills that need to be honed. It may also be an opportunity to provide growth assignments for those who are up for the challenge.

Celebrate the successes.

Do this informally, and formally, as the team melds and bonds. Say thank you, often.

Remember, in the long run, people won’t remember what you said to them, but they will always remember how you made them feel.


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