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How do layoffs impact managers, and what can they do about it?

How do layoffs impact managers, and what can they do about it?
How do layoffs impact managers, and what can they do about it?
December 16, 2022

2022 has seen an increasing number of #layoffs across the board. One thing that is on everyone’s minds right now is layoffs. While the term sends shivers down employees’ spines, it equally signals troubles for managers. Layoffs have an economical, functional, and human cost that all the affected parties have to bear – more often than not asymmetrically. As a team faces a layoff, there are several concerns that a manager has to face suddenly. Not only do they have to prepare for the changes, but they are also the ones who become the face of them. 

Layoffs typically refer to the mass termination of employees. Generally, companies resort to layoffs as they run out of options to sustain the current paradigm of their functioning. Company decisions such as product downsizing, cost-cutting measures, and plant closings, which require them to reduce workforce size, are often the reason behind layoffs. As we are noticing a trend of layoffs swarming industries ranging from tech to HR, it becomes imperative to prepare #managers for navigating such situations. 

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One of the main challenges for managers during a layoff is handling separation from their teams. They are letting go of an incredible team member for reasons they cannot control. Resultantly, managing exits can be tricky. Moreover, industry norms do not set a good picture of practices adopted during a layoff. Nonetheless, the managers can include initiatives like having an exit conversation with their former employees to ease the situation. 

An exit conversation allows managers and employees to understand the reasons for the dissociation. It helps employees better understand and can lead to a positive perspective for moving forward. Additionally, it provides you feedback on your team, creating an opening into the minds of your team. 

A good exit conversation hinges on good communication, which includes picking the right questions. Understanding the delicacy and care required to conduct an exit conversation easily is crucial for managers. Risely’s free exit conversation toolkit can help you understand this better. It is equipped with sample questions and a do’s and don’ts checklist to boost your preparation. 

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Layoffs leave a long-lasting impact on teams too. They are forced to adjust rapidly to novel circumstances when their colleagues leave. In addition, most team members have to take up extra responsibilities for which they might not be prepared. Apart from the functional stress, a recent layoff significantly impacts a team’s mental health and sense of safety. An atmosphere of insecurity regarding jobs and a lack of trust can prevail, as everyone is scared of losing their job. 

In such a situation, regrouping a team becomes an essential task for a manager. They need to ensure that their team is prepared to overcome the challenge together and does not fragment in the face of adversity. Engaging your team again after a layoff begins with communication. Explaining the situation and understanding their perspective is critical to reinvigorating the team. 

You can read about a few things managers can do to regroup their teams after a layoff in this blog. 

In our conversations surrounding layoffs, we direct most of our attention toward the employees and starve our managers of the same. However, it is also vital to consider layoffs’ impact on managers and leaders. Often, they are not the ones engineering the layoffs but instead the ones implementing them. As a result, they face tremendous pressure that can impact them mentally, even pushing them to the extent of an existential crisis. 

An existential crisis creates an internal struggle within a person. It can cause them to question the meaning and purpose of their actions and life. They can end up stuck in a loop of hopelessness and insecurity that drives down their spirits. It impacts their productivity and severely harms all aspects of their lives, including those outside the scope of professional interactions. 

If you feel that an existential crisis might be lingering around the corner, you need to identify the causes and work around them. Our blog on existential crises for managers can be a good starting point to start the process. It identifies the types and triggers of existential problems that managers typically face. 

As we continue to move in an uncertain world, it is imperative to take care of our mental and physical health. Moreover, constant upgrading to rise more in your personal and professional journeys is vital. You can make a better bet at succeeding by preparing yourself for the ongoing and upcoming challenges! 

#leaders #leadershipdevelopment #managerdevelopment

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