The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company; you own your career!
~ Earl Nightingale
If you are being forced to lay off employees, you have probably already given some thought to applying downsizing motivation theory to keep your surviving employees motivated before, during, and after the layoffs. However, you should also be concerned about motivating your exiting employees. Employees who are laid off are much more likely to speak negatively about the company if they are given little or no support as they transition back into the job market.
When it comes to motivating those who are experiencing loss, encouragement is key. As George Mattew Adams wrote, “Encouragement is like oxygen for the soul.” It is during the most difficult times in a person’s life that encouragement is most needed and appreciated. Losing a job is one of those times. By offering encouragement to your exiting employees, you will help them keep a positive outlook, which is essential as they try to find new jobs.
Here are six ways you can encourage your exiting employees to keep their spirits up as they begin their job search:
Encourage them to take action.
Acknowledge their fears, but help them create a solid plan to find a new job and encourage them to take concrete steps to move forward in spite of their fears.
Encourage them to focus on their strengths.
Consider working with an outplacement coaching service to help your employees identify their strengths, accomplishments, and potential.
Emphasize the positives.
Many times, employees who are laid off will end up in positions that are better suited to their skills and personality. Others may find that it gives them the courage they need to pursue their dreams.
Help them see the possibilities.
Opportunities are everywhere. Encourage your exiting employees to be alert to new opportunities, from pursuing a different career path to starting their own businesses.
Provide resources to help them find a new job or career.
Implement an outplacement program that incorporates job skill training, resume services, and other career transition services that will help them find new jobs.
Listen without being judgmental.
Displaced workers often need someone who will listen to their concerns and fears. Allow them to express their anxieties and try to encourage them as much as possible.
Encouragement is the single most important component when downsizing employees—even more important than teaching employees who haven’t had to look for work lately how to find a new job in today’s high-tech job market. Sometimes a single encouraging word is all it takes to motivate someone who is feeling defeated.