How can you make the process smoother and lead through layoffs? Find out in this article. 

Laying off employees is one of the most painful tasks a leader must perform. Sadly, it’s something technology industry managers have had to do more often lately as well.

Indeed, over 139,000 tech employees at companies ranging from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft to the smallest of startups have lost their jobs this year, according to website With a possible recession looming, further IT job losses are probably on the way.

Should you end up participating in that unfortunate trend yourself, experts say, what you do on the day itself and in the weeks that follow will go a long way toward determining whether laying people off proves to be a brief unhappy episode for your company or a lasting stumbling block to success.


Be Prepared

Start by forging a plan for how you will communicate and explain the bad news. If you have a management team, involve them closely in that process and make sure everyone’s in lock-step alignment on what you’ll say and how you’ll say it. Clear and consistent messaging is a vital part of keeping the many people you’re not parting with motivated and secure.

After speaking with the employees you’ve laid off, hold an all-hands meeting for everyone else as soon as possible, making provisions for anyone working from home. Be transparent and direct about who you’ve let go, why it was necessary, and what your selection criteria were. Managers at Google recently learned what can happen when job cuts leave employees confused.

Think about the questions you’re likely to get too, and prepare answers in advance. Project calm, sympathy, and confidence about what lies ahead for your company. Recent data from human capital management firm isolved suggests that over one in four employees even at companies not enduring layoffs are insecure about their job, and you don’t want people further distracted over worries about their future.

After meeting together with the whole team, meet individually with employees as well in the days to come, to gauge their mood, offer reassurance, and sustain morale. Research from consultancy Leadership IQ suggests that 74% of employees who survive layoffs report lower productivity afterwards, and 87% say they’re less likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work. At a time when tech unemployment stands at just 2.2% versus 3.6% across industries, according to recent data from industry membership association CompTIA, you don’t want layoffs to inspire resignations.


Double Down on Culture

The best defense against employee demoralization following layoffs, though, is redoubling your commitment to building a strong, effective company culture. Job cuts are less apt to cost you productivity and profitability if employees feel appreciated, supported, and empowered to be their best.

Analysis by management consultancy Bain & Company of tech business ratings on Glassdoor found that three factors in particular stand out as influences on where the most talented people want to work. The period after layoffs is a great time to pursue all three:

  1. Commitment to diversity and inclusion. Research consistently shows that diverse, inclusive organizations outperform less diverse peers along multiple variables, including employee recruitment and retention. Nearly half of participants in a 2021 survey by compensation and performance management firm Beqom, in fact, said they’d consider switching to another employer if it embraces DEI.
  2. Transparent and accountable senior management. Employees generally prefer working for people who are open, honest, accessible, and take responsibility for their decision-making. Leaders who celebrate good work and encourage employees to do the same for each other inspire loyalty too. Yet a 2022 study by consultancy Workhuman revealed that some 60% of full-time U.S. employees feel only somewhat valued or not at all valued on the job.
  3. Coaching and career development. Helping employees acquire skills and pursue career goals is a great way to demonstrate your continued dedication to post-layoff survivors. It’s also far too rare a priority at many workplaces: Nearly 60% of respondents to isolved’s survey say their employer could do more to advance their career, and 21% feel there isn’t room for growth within their company.

Absolutely no one enjoys laying people off, but managers who execute the process thoughtfully, follow up appropriately, and focus on culture can emerge from the ordeal in an even stronger position than before.


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