BlogEmployee Retention in the Layoffs era: Engaging the ones who stay 

Employee Retention in the Layoffs era: Engaging the ones who stay 

21 September, 2023

Employee Retention in the Layoffs era: Engaging the ones who stay 

The Layoff Era  

Due to situations that changed life as we knew it, 2023 has earned the unfortunate distinction of being the bleakest year on record for the tech industry. This is due to it being the year of layoffs. Tech companies laid off 2.26 lakh employees to date, 40% more than in 2022! Layoffs might affect the morale of the employees who remain. When employees see colleagues being laid off, they may experience feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. This can result in lower productivity and engagement, which can have an impact on the company’s bottom line. How do you retain employees and ensure that employee engagement and employee experience are at an all-time high? Read on!  

Understanding employee retention  

There is no one way to retain employees or keep them engaged. What may work for one employee may not work for another. Thus, it requires a combination of multiple practices which can be made easier to implement with experimentation, consistency, and by understanding the employees. In the current volatile scenario, retaining valuable employees is paramount for business stability and growth. Hence, organizations need to focus on engaging and supporting the employees who choose to stay and foster trust through empathy and transparency. Here are key strategies to accomplish this: 

1. Empathetic Communication 

Building a Culture of Empathy: Prioritize understanding and address the concerns and anxieties of employees. Ensure clear and honest communication about the organization’s situation and future, thereby fostering trust and a sense of inclusion. 

2. Employing a Reward and Recognition Culture 

 Recognize What Matters: Acknowledge and appreciate employees’ efforts and achievements, motivating them to stay committed even in the face of uncertainty. Using a reward and recognition platform will streamline and enhance the employee rewards process, making it more efficient and engaging. Targeted recognition for adaptive behaviors, like reinventing processes for organizational change, will set the right expectations and put the focus on the future.  

3. Inclusive decision making 

In a culture where layoffs are prevalent, it is vital for employees to feel included in the decisions made by an organization’s higher-ups. While layoffs arise, organizations typically examine and rearrange their structures. Incorporating comprehensive talks and meetings, as well as considering employees’ points of view, is critical to making them feel not only included but also a part of the organization’s larger objective.  This also contributes to the employee engagement that organizations often struggle with at a time of restructuring.  

4. Offering Mental Health Assistance 

Workplace Survivor Syndrome is a reaction noticed in employees who remain with an organization despite layoffs and restructurings. Raising awareness about this syndrome is a vital first step, followed by putting tools and support in place, such as 24/7 access to licensed, qualified mental therapists through an employee assistance program.  

5. Feedback and Continuous Improvement 

Establish a culture of continuous and regular feedback and allow employees to voice their concerns and suggestions regularly with the option of anonymization. Demonstrate a commitment to improvement by acting on feedback and involving employees in decision-making processes. This can be done by using an employee engagement platform for conducting eNPS, surveys and hosting a virtual ‘suggestion box’! Get in touch with us to know more about this. We can help.  

6. Train the Leaders  

 Your culture’s general tone will always begin with leadership. Empower department and team leaders to be calm and confident as they will help to set the tone for how news will be presented and received. The team will pick up on the empathy and optimism that leaders radiate for the company’s future, instilling a sense of psychological safety. 


In conclusion, during challenging times, the companies that thrive will be those that recognize the critical role of employee engagement in their success. By empathetically understanding their concerns, proactively recognizing their efforts, and fostering an environment that supports growth and well-being, organizations can build a loyal, motivated workforce that propels them toward a prosperous future. 

 Looking to understand how you can incorporate a ‘recognition culture’ in your organization? Meet us at the SHRM India Conference and Expo, 2023 on the 12th and 13th of October, at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi 

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