3 Steps for Avoiding Disorder After Layoffs

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Apr 12 2023 read

Knowledge Exchange is a weekly series of educational articles that we encourage you to share and discuss with your colleagues and network. This month, we’re offering advice for enduring common business changes.

Hard times are ripe for growth. Many of us look back on past difficulties and appreciate the lessons therein. Yet, somehow we forget that opportunities lie ahead when we’re approaching a new rough patch.

Knowing you have to be the bearer of the ultimate bad news — impending layoffs — is a scenario in which you could struggle to see through to better times. But it’s easier to maintain perspective when you have a solid plan. 

If you can’t avoid layoffs, think about the following three-pronged method for getting through them with as little damage as possible.

1. Carefully Manage Your Own Emotional State

Leaders set the tone in any circumstance, even outside of business. Think about the difference between two groups of whitewater rafters: one whose guide is calmly stating next steps and one whose guide is shouting instructions with a worried look on their face. Which group is more likely to make it down the river unscathed?

Managing your own fears so you can remain attentive and steady is of utmost importance for both yourself and your direct reports. The people who will continue to work with you want to know that you have a plan, that you’ll take accountability when necessary and that you’ll be consistent about supporting them.

How? There’s nothing comparable to experience as a guide. Seek out a fellow leader: a colleague or mentor who’s carried out layoffs or endured a big change like a merger or acquisition. Just as you would lean on a caring friend during a major life shift, give yourself the gift of counsel now.

2. Keep Remaining Employees Engaged 

While it’s normal to be concerned about the people you’re letting go, you can’t neglect the ones on whom you’ll rely during this period of transition. After a round of layoffs, people may feel unstable and worried about their jobs.

To keep your current employees engaged and productive, ensure they have the essentials:

  • Transparency
  • Positive feedback
  • Fair pay and treatment
  • Mission-driven leadership

How? After checking in on these core elements, you might consider interrupting bad operational habits that impact your team’s day-to-day experience:

  • Have you been going to a reliable employee with too many tasks?
  • Are you postponing important human resources requests?
  • Have you or your managers neglected one-on-ones lately? 
  • Is it time to start a new, morale-boosting tradition?

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Furthermore, keep an eye on employee utilization as you implement changes. This metric is a direct indicator of how engaged and effective your team is. Accurate records of employee activity can serve as proof of each role’s value if your business faces the threat of layoffs again in the future. 

➡️ If you’re a Premium Accelo user, you already have the ability to find out if your team is over- or underutilized. Explore how to navigate the utilization dashboard.

3. Support Stability With Efficient Skill Replacement

Along with demonstrating regard for important work-life factors, your employees need to see that you care about giving them the tools to succeed. Layoffs can create skill gaps, so you may want to do a skills inventory of your newly reduced team.

Short-term contractors can fill in some missing expertise, but tech can often do so even more efficiently. For example:

  • If you don’t have a dedicated project manager for the time being, make sure you’re fully utilizing Accelo’s project management and time-tracking features.
  • If you can’t spring for an agency’s help with marketing, you might choose to use a free or low-cost social scheduling or email marketing tool. 
  • If you’ve lost finance or accounting staff, you can still generate accurate invoices for work performed by automating billable time tracking and billing in Accelo.

How? One of the best ways to fill in multiple skill gaps is to lean on the efficiency-boosting partners you already have. Accelo — the platform and the team — is here for you. We built our personalized Expert Services program to help you overcome challenges and achieve your goals.

Think your colleagues would find this article valuable? Head over to LinkedIn to share and discuss the changes impacting your business.

Not using Accelo yet? Get your team prepared for change: Start a free trial or schedule a demo.


About the Author


Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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