Rising Above the Rest: Tips to Navigate Uncertainty During an RIF

The traditional notions of leadership are being challenged. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data reported a 10% increase in layoffs from 2022 to 2023. The start of 2024 looks to be following the trend. Fox Business reports major companies in all sectors are preparing for a reduction in force (RIF). When navigating these choppy waters, the ability to mitigate uncertainty becomes crucial for all leaders. By navigating layoffs transparently, reconnecting with remaining employees and preparing current employees for new hires, strong leaders will rise above the rest.

Terminate with Compassion

There is no easy way to let someone go but it is important to remember that the way you communicate a termination goes further than just a meeting. Company culture carries on after employment ends. The way you go about the layoff will send a lasting message that will spread outside of your company. Ensure your lasting impression is a positive one by using compassion and transparency when sharing why the decision was made and providing a clear path to the next steps. If possible, offer more than the basic resources for the employees who were let go. Explore options such as partnering with an outplacement firm to provide career transition services to those who have been impacted. Services like this support resume building, networking, effectively leveraging LinkedIn, workplace negotiation, and more. If you handle the layoff well, your current employees, as well as those who were let go, will remain an ambassador for the company’s culture and leadership in the future.

Reconnect with Remaining Employees

Reductions in force can be especially hard for those still on the team. Forbes found that layoff survivors experience a substantial decline of 41% in job satisfaction, a 20% reduction in job performance and are 36% less inclined to stay. Now is the time when over-communication is better than under-communication. For leaders, it is vital to check in with the remaining employees. Do so by:

  • Make time during your day to genuinely check-in
  • Create a safe space where your team can come to you with questions
  • Recognize your team’s nerves, fears and overall uncertainty
  • Help your team understand what is behind the RIF and rebuild their confidence
  • Directly communicate each team member’s importance to you and the company
  • Disclose how important they are to the company’s new direction
  • Invest in their career growth through company programs and opportunities

By taking the extra step to reconnect with your remaining employees, you will see an immediate, positive, difference in morale and engagement within the office.

Prepare for New Hires

Just because your company is seeing a reduction in force, it does not mean you won’t see new hires. This can be extremely difficult for employees who may have seen their work friends leave, just to see new faces arrive. You can mitigate this by remaining forthright and honest. Help your team understand why these positions still need to be filled amongst the layoffs.

Going the extra mile for your entire team, including those who are facing layoffs, will make a lasting impression. By ensuring the proper steps are taken, you will mitigate the uncertainty, setting you ahead of the pack. AJO is here to support you through RIFs to see the ultimate results. We offer RIF Consulting, Career Transition Services and Coaching Solutions to build you a personalized path to real results. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

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Post by AJO

Founded on core family values and a commitment to building strong, long-lasting partnerships, AJO approaches its work with confidence and expertise that only comes with over 40 years in the business. Working with companies of all sizes, needs and budgets, AJO develops high-performing teams and global leaders for organizational success.