Downsizing is a high-stress experience that everyone feels, whether it’s the loss of your job, witnessing layoffs within your company, giving the notifications, or just knowing friends and colleagues will be facing unemployment.

As Calgary companies navigate change, Cenera’s Career Transition professionals have supported organizations and individuals through the difficult process of employee terminations. And while it’s one thing to read about terminations in the paper, it’s quite another to watch colleagues pack up their things and walk out the door.

If your organization is considering downsizing, here are three simple actions managers and leaders can take to support surviving employees.

  1. Prioritize Communication

Terminations tend to disrupt social networks and decrease morale within companies, which can add to negative feelings. Remaining employees may feel workplace survivor guilt, anger or anxiety while simultaneously waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Now is not the time to run and hide. Be candid about your downsizing decision. Prepare your managers to communicate messaging and facts regarding the terminations and the business decisions behind them. To ease concerns and maintain trust in the leadership (and the company), encourage managers to communicate openly and proactively with employees, institute open-door policies, and gather input on plans and changes.

  1. Provide Mental Health Supports

It’s not uncommon to assume that remaining employees will feel relieved to have made it through job cuts and will quickly bounce back from changes. The reality is terminations can be just as hard on the retained employees as they are on those who are exiting.

Addressing your employees’ mental health during this stressful period is crucial. Notice the range of reactions from survivors and be available to address any fears, uncertainties or questions. Acknowledge that change can be frustrating and scary – even for you – and ensure that confidential help is available through your Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

  1. Design Optimum Workloads

Employees may panic at the thought of absorbing additional duties, overcoming steep learning curves, or leading a newly organized team, but proper planning can help ease stress.

Carefully analyze who can take on more work, what tasks can be delegated, and who’s workload needs to be adjusted. Ensure managers are meeting with individuals to clarify roles and objectives. Identify key people who may benefit from coaching and put in resources to help them succeed.

Downfalls of downsizing are inevitable, but with Cenera’s expert Coaches and HR professionals’ support, you can address them head-on and minimize the long-term impacts. To learn more about our people and workforce solutions, contact us today!

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