Xenium’s Senior HR Business Partners know a lot about human resources, and we want to share their knowledge and insight with you! Each week, we publish a question from you, our readers, and our experienced HR leaders provide thoughtful, helpful advice addressing your HR dilemmas. Submit questions by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on the chat icon at the bottom of this page. We are excited to partner with you…one HR question at a time!
This week’s featured HR expert is Judy Lofurno.
Many people in our company seem a little down lately due to some recent layoffs. How can we boost company morale and bring our now-smaller team together again?
We see this a lot—it’s common for companies to go through layoffs. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The best way to support your employees through a situation like this is to keep communication open and be available for them to ask questions. This might mean scheduling time to be together, maybe during lunch or another open social time either during or after work. Keep in mind that being available also means being transparent about where the company is, and where it has been in recent months or quarters. It really helps employees feel better about the situation when they’re given clear explanations of what’s going on. Plus, the overall level of trust grows when company leadership isn’t keeping all information about the company at the top level. Being forthright shows employees that you’re all in this together.
Also, share with your employees your expectations for them, including ways they can help make the business more successful. Rally everyone together toward a common goal. Involving your people with the overall plan for the business will make them feel like they have a voice, and it shows them their work matters.
You could also conduct engagement surveys. But if you decide to do these surveys, it’s very important to follow up. Your employees will lose trust with you if you conduct this survey but don’t do anything with the information. So it would be a real commitment from leadership to do these engagement surveys, follow up, and then present an action plan that results from the feedback gathered. This is another chance to show employees that their opinions and ideas are valued. The survey does not need to be long; it could even be just two questions. But the most important thing is to do some follow-up and take action!
If you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), provide your employees with the contact details to give them another option to voice concerns and receive advice. This would be a good third-party resource.
Another idea is to mix employees up across departments or set up small group lunches with a senior leader. Oftentimes, employees don’t know people in other departments very well. You can bridge that gap by bringing people together as a team to find support. The goal here is to get people away from feeling like they’re a silo or on an island and get them collaborating as a team. It allows people to feel the community of the company and get to know each other better, which makes them feel more connected to their peers and to the company. In times like this, when there’s a lot of uneasiness, it can be tough to keep people engaged, because you can’t promise anyone that their job is going to be there in six months. Connecting everyone on the team helps to calm that uneasiness.
These ideas all point back to the fact that the most important thing you can do during a time of stress for your employees is keep those lines of communication open at all times. Keep all employees connected as a team, and give your employees several forums to ask questions and stay connected to one another.