Employee Engagement: Best Practices for Layoff Communications

Plan ahead for your reduction-in-force communications.

Layoffs. It’s a word no one likes to hear. But with ongoing news of cuts at Meta, Twitter, Amazon and more, it’s a hard one to avoid. It’s also not just tech companies being impacted – many industries’ leaders are being forced to make difficult decisions right now as we hover at the edge of a recession.

All of this means it’s time for companies to dust off their reduction-in-force (RIF) communication playbooks. And the reality is, those playbooks may be a little out of date. For one, there haven’t been many layoffs since pre-COVID (yes, there were furloughs at the start of COVID, but many were cushioned by the extension of unemployment benefits. Plus, everyone was in the same pandemic-hit boat). We’re also living in a very different world of work now: with many employees working hybrid schedules, or even fully remote, the connection between employees, managers and the organization may be different than it was before. 

All of this can have a big impact on the way you should communicate about this sort of change, which will affect your ability to maintain employee engagement after layoffs. While most of the basic best practices will still apply, some may need to be altered to fit this new environment. Here are just a few elements to consider:

Add all of this up, and you can see why your old RIF communications playbook might need some updating. So, as you’re adjusting your communication strategy to ensure you maintain employee engagement after layoffs, here are some suggestions:

Letting people go is never easy, but the right communication strategy can make a difference and allow you to maintain employee engagement after layoffs. If you’re facing difficult employee decisions and would like support communicating them, Padilla can help.

This post was updated from August, 2022.

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