The first few months of the pandemic were marked with layoffs--of varying sizes--across multiple industries. A Gartner poll taken in early May 2020 by finance leaders found that 25% of respondents’ organizations employed or considered employing workforce reduction as a means to reduce costs by July 2020.
. And while layoffs themselves require careful planning, strategy and transition, what CIOs often fail to plan for is the aftermath.
“CIOs spend too little time dealing with the emotional toll of layoffs and expect their employees to accept the situation and move on by themselves,” says Gabriela Vogel, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “This strategy often backfires and leads to drops in productivity, engagement and retention of talent.”
While reducing head count may be a necessary, albeit difficult, business decision, CIOs need to “PLAN” for post-layoffs:
After layoffs, identify and focus on quick wins or areas of low implementation difficulty, but high business relevance. This will boost employee confidence and signal a clear sense of direction.
Give your team the space to voice thoughts and criticisms. It will shed light on issues you hadn’t considered and also highlight potential areas of future resistance. Make sure to ask about necessary capabilities to tackle these quick wins and task the team with creating pragmatic solutions. Co-creation will allow the team to feel in control, reduce anxiety and boost morale.
Leverage influencers and anticipate resistance
For each significant change, list possible influences and resistors, and how to leverage or mitigate each one. Identify each of the key stakeholders, as support from them will lead to a successful transformation. Keep this information updated as perceptions develop, but treat it with the utmost confidentiality.