Improve Employee Retention During Challenging Times

Three Tips to Improve Employee Retention During Challenging Times

  • Monday December 12, 2022
  • Enterprise Teams   
  • Leadership   
  • Teams   

The final quarter of 2022 has been a tumultuous period for many employers. There have been numerous high-profile layoffs, including Amazon’s 10,000-person layoff, and Meta’s 11,000-person reduction in November 2022 alone. Companies have undergone hiring freezes as inflation has continued to rise. It’s been a challenging time for companies and individuals alike.

The reality is our economy ebbs and flows. This cyclical nature, while not always reassuring at the moment, is a fact of professional life, and managing effectively through challenging times is of critical importance to maintain stability. Following a layoff or otherwise monumental business shift, retaining and engaging the workforce that IS still with the company should be at the top of every executive’s list. Consider the following strategies to keep your remaining workforce engaged and motivated during tough times.

Lead with Transparency

High-profile business changes such as layoffs are cause for anxiety across a business, even for those who remain on board. The worst thing leadership can do is fail to communicate what’s happened and why. We live in a world where social media will control the narrative unless leaders take proactive measures. Lead with a sense of empathy but be direct. If the layoffs were a result of poor company performance, be honest and don’t sugarcoat. Embrace transparency and get ahead of the questions – don’t let your employees speculate and feed the rumor mill. If employees will be responsible for assuming more work – let them know. If you’re confident this will be the only round of layoffs let them know, but if you’re not sure – be honest. This is a time for humility, transparency, and respect.

Of equal importance is ensuring management at all levels is communicating the same message. “Companies should consider devoting a day or two to training and discussion sessions to help managers build their confidence in delivering empathetic and consistent messaging around layoffs”, notes HBR. Managers might be struggling too, so acknowledging their anxiety while adequately preparing them for how to communicate will reduce the risk of inconsistent or inappropriate messaging.

Offer support

Studies have shown that Americans spend nearly one-third of their lives at work. People become connected to their coworkers, and work is a community. When that community is disrupted, this can be both painful and shocking. It’s critical to acknowledge the impact layoffs can have on existing employees, and even more important to offer support. Leaders should actively facilitate conversation to ensure voices are heard. As Randstad Risesmart suggests, “Recovery from a layoff is faster and easier if managers and employees are allowed to speak their minds freely about what’s happened. Hold focus groups and employee meetings to help facilitate employee conversations.” It’s ok to ask employees to behave according to company policies and values but stifling all discussion about the layoffs will have a far more negative impact than allowing people to express their concerns.

Align on a shared sense of purpose

The path forward likely looks different after layoffs than it did before. Let people know what – if anything – has changed and get clear on everyone’s part in it. Layoffs aren’t done without significant reason, and ensuring remaining employees understand the “why” is important. As HBR shares, “When employees understand that management is reshaping the company for future stability and growth while treating people with dignity and keeping opportunities open when possible, they will be more likely to respond with their best efforts.” Treat people like adults, and they will generally respond like adults.

Retaining employees is important in all facets of business, but especially so when a business has undergone significant change. Leading from a position of honesty and not from a position of fear will go far to ingratiate the remaining employees to the company. Consider external support during tough times as well. Teamraderie can provide support through experiences that focus on trust, transformation, and bonding, allowing your team to refocus after a difficult experience. Demonstrate you care about your people and your business, even in challenging times, and engender confidence in your path forward!

Engaging Experiences for Your Team

What could your team learn from analyzing ‘athletic plays’ from cricket matches, rugby scrums, soccer games, and American football?

Great team plays in sports involve players that recalibrate themselves to meet the needs of others. The most celebrated ‘athletic plays’ are often displays of agile human empathy.

In this Teamraderie experience, your team will be joined live by former Stanford football great and NASCAR pit crew pioneer Andy Papathanassiou. You will watch short (30-second) videos together of inspiring plays from the world’s favorite sports. Andy will help your team reflect on the different forms of empathy (“The Three Forms”) displayed by great athletic teams.

In a live and interactive discussion, your team will then apply these Three Forms to the critical collaboration activities that you will be pursuing together.

Your team will recognize that – while they may not be able to display the athletic prowess of Ronaldo Cristobal or Patrick Mahomes, they are capable of ‘upping their game’ in the empathy of their collaboration with others.

$1,500 for up to 30 people
45 min

Does your team exhibit flexibility, agility, and persistence to win?

Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner, two olympic gymnasts who earned perfect scores, will share with you how they prepared for anything instead of everything. Through the analogy of gymnastics, you’ll discuss new ways to unlock your team’s agility and find perfection amidst challenges.

$4,500 for up to 30 people
45 min

Unlock your team’s highest potential by treating them like a cherished relationship.

Stanford’s Dr. Kathryn Velcich will guide your team through research-backed exercises that show how episodic check-ins build a stronger bond with your team. Through two exercises–focusing on eliminating energy depletion and doubling down on top-yielding performance–you will learn from one of Stanford’s top professors how to take your team to the next level.

$2,000 for up to 20 people
45 min
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