Since our Team Trust in Action post last week, some of you have reached out to ask us to provide guidance on how to build this sense of safety and trust while the uncertainty of layoffs are looming.

We have incredible empathy for people, teams, and leaders who are dealing with layoffs. Whether it’s the possibility of a layoff, being laid off, or even being someone who survived the layoff, the uncertainty of it all can make it difficult to show up at your best.

Today, we want to remind you that there are some ways you can lean in to care for yourself and those you lead.

Whether you’re a leader or an employee, it’s important that you’re able to acknowledge how stressful potential layoffs can be.

Encourage individuals and teams to lean in to support one another with questions like, “What would support from me look like? What would support from the team look like?”

Consider the things you love about your job (skills, environment, team size, etc.) and what you would change if you had the opportunity. If you’re a leader, encourage people to think about this.

We know that in the midst of uncertainty and anxiety, it can be difficult to pull up and think about the work you love, so we encourage you to chat with a close friend or colleague and go through some questions together:

  • What are some of the projects you’ve worked on that have been the most satisfying for you? What skills were you using?
  • What’s the work that motivates you the most?
  • When you’re at your best, what skills have you been using, what was the work, and who were you working with?

Whether internally or externally, explore what opportunities are available should you need to look.

Identify people to connect with and consider saying something like, “I’m considering what’s next for me in my career and am interested in learning more about the work you do (or company, group, team you’re working on). I’d love to get some insights from you about your work world.”

As an employee, if you have a good relationship with your boss or with someone in HR, consider having a conversation about the layoffs in the works, and let them know that you’re starting to look around in order to protect yourself should that happen. This is where you could inquire if there are any opportunities you should know about.

As a leader, be as open with your team as you can be, about what’s happening.

You could say something like, “I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the uncertainty you may be feeling right now. I know that it can be distracting, so let’s lean in and talk about how we can support each other in navigating this time. I’m here if you need or support or have any questions. While I may not be able to answer all of them, I encourage you to ask.”

The threat of being laid off (or the stress of having to lay people off) can be extremely challenging and you may find yourself frozen for a bit. But, if you can start to take action on your own behalf, and support others in doing the same, you’ll be much more prepared no matter what happens.

If you’d like support
navigating a layoff,
contact us today.