The Impact of Layoff and Furloughs on Employee Wellbeing

The Impact of Layoff and Furloughs on Employee Wellbeing

Engagement technology expert Steven Buck discusses how hard pandemic-related headcount changes have hit employees – and how managers can cope.  

Engagement technology expert Steven Buck discusses how hard pandemic-related headcount changes have hit employees – and how managers can cope.

 

Since March, Glint has amalgamated data from 7 million employee engagement surveys carried out across the globe, allowing us to better understand the impact of the pandemic on employee wellbeing.

 

Our latest monthly study shows that recent layoffs and furloughs have started to puncture employee morale. Happiness at work was relatively high at the outset of the crisis, when organisations responded quickly to employees’ new needs. That positive sentiment is now plateauing or on a downward trajectory as the pandemic continues to feature heavily in our lives.

 

According to the survey data, 56% of respondents report feeling less happy at work after seeing co-workers furloughed or laid off. Half of respondents say their organisation’s layoffs or furlough plans have had a negative impact on their workload (50%) and their sense of belonging or community at work (47%).

 

Job security wavering

 

Employees’ sense of job security has also suffered. Glint data show a big drop in employees’ interest in pursuing career development opportunities. Two out of three employees say they rarely consider looking for a new job. Before the pandemic over half of employees said they had a passive eye on the job market. The data also shows that employees are increasingly interested in learning and development opportunities, with employees wanting to carve out more time for these activities.

 

In light of these lowered levels of optimism, how should managers rebuild connections with their team and help everyone focus on a new workplace future?

 

Looking for a way forward 

 

Regular feedback is an important ingredient in today’s people-centric work cultures. It’s even more critical if your company is now going through pandemic-related restructuring. Sending out regular employee engagement surveys helps leaders gauge what the most effective steps might be to reinforce trust and help improve engagement. The employee engagement survey process also contributes to employees feeling involved and having a voice.

 

Conversations between manager and employee are the best way to build on this surveying activity. After a round of job losses it’s natural for people to feel raised levels of anxiety, uncertainty, and a lack of control. Conversations will help your organisation rebuild trust, address work goals, as well as work through any issues or resource needs. Workplace learning opportunities are another means of helping your employees adapt to a changing environment.

 

In these strained times, thoughtful and supportive ongoing dialogue needs to be a top organisational priority, to help your employees rebuild connections and refocus their energy in the face of unwelcome but necessary restructuring.

 

The author is Head of People Science, EMEA at employee engagement leader Glint, part of LinkedIn

 

 

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