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The aftermath of redundancies: How to regain trust?

  • 3 Min Read

Recent global developments have had a significant impact on business operations, influencing our strategies around redundancies and employee support.

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In 2024, economies worldwide are experiencing subdued growth, influenced by higher interest rates and geopolitical uncertainties.

This slowdown affects consumption, investment, manufacturing, and trade. And while easing commodity prices and inflation provide some relief to companies and households, many will be facing the tough decision of making redundancies.

The aftermath of redundancies can leave a company in a state of flux, with remaining employees often grappling with a mix of emotions – from relief to guilt, fear to uncertainty.

As HR professionals, your role in navigating this challenging period is crucial. You must help rebuild morale, regain trust, and foster a supportive environment that enables the business to bounce back stronger.

The initial period following redundancies is critical. It’s essential to give employees time to process the changes and adapt to the new reality. Over 70% of workers who remain after corporate layoffs report increasing error rates, declining customer service, and plummeting product quality.

To avoid a long-term drop in morale, open up communication channels for employees to ask questions and air concerns. Regular updates and a responsive attitude towards employee feedback can help build trust and promote a sense of stability.

Furthermore, given the proliferation of remote and hybrid work models, it’s essential to tailor support to these new dynamics. This includes virtual wellness resources, digital team-building exercises, and effective use of collaboration tools to maintain team cohesion.

Adjust expectations and roles

Redundancies inevitably lead to a reshuffling of roles and responsibilities. Collaborative efforts between teams and managers to redefine roles and identify tasks that need to be reassigned are crucial.

Revising your business plan, performance metrics, and learning and development strategy to reflect the new reality can help align individual and organisational goals, making it clear to each employee that they have a vital role to play in the company’s recovery.

Provide support

Supporting employees during this period, especially those working remotely, is paramount. A strong wellness program can help keep people motivated and productive despite increased levels of stress.

Offering services like remote meditation sessions, counselling services, and promoting a sense of community through virtual coffee breaks or Zoom hangouts can help employees feel supported and valued.

Promote collaboration

Redundancies can alter team dynamics, leaving some employees feeling they’ve lost sources of support. Encouraging cross-departmental collaboration can help rebuild these support networks.

Organising activities like a cross-team hackathon or creating a cross-departmental task force can shift mindsets from crisis to recovery, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose.

Foster open communication

Open, honest communication is key to supporting employees’ mental health while increasing engagement and fostering trust. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and open dialogues can help develop employees more quickly and efficiently.

Removing annual performance reviews can boost morale, where employees no longer feel they are working towards one day that can affect their future in the company.

…leverage technology?

Text messaging can be an effective tool for connecting with your workforce. From company updates and announcements to schedule changes and reminders, text messaging can facilitate quick and efficient communication.

It can also be used to gather feedback, recognise employee milestones, and provide access to training and development resources.

Advancements in technology, like AI and data analytics, offer new ways to support and engage employees. These can be used for personalized training programs, predictive workforce planning, and enhancing communication channels.

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