Nurturing a Positive Culture Post-Layoffs 

March 5, 2024

Derek Khan

Derek Khan

Layoffs, though painful, remain a stark and uncomfortable aspect of our business world. Layoffs will affect the morale of your team, but they don’t have to obliterate your culture. Learn more in our latest blog.


With over 12,600 reactions, 619 comments, and 480 reposts, there is a chance you have seen this LinkedIn post from an ex-Meta employee. If you haven’t seen it and want to take a look at the comments, it makes for some pretty interesting reading. 

The aftermath of layoffs can be brutal for teams. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 72% of employees who stay after a layoff experience a decline in morale, and 68% report feeling increased stress and anxiety. This translates to a significant drop in collaboration, with a Harvard Business Review study showing a 20% decrease in productivity in teams affected by layoffs. 

Layoffs, though painful, remain a stark and uncomfortable aspect of our business world. Layoffs will affect the morale of your team, but they don’t have to obliterate your culture. In fact, handled the right way, they could potentially lead to significant improvements in your team’s performance and culture. 

Layoffs happen to people, and people’s lives are affected by change. Here, we’ll explore practical strategies to rebuild a positive culture and revive teamwork after layoffs. 

Understanding the Impact: 

As the saying goes, “A house divided cannot stand.” Layoffs create a sense of insecurity, leading to a “me vs. them” mentality where colleagues compete for limited resources and fear becoming the next victim. This toxic environment not only hampers collaboration but also leads to increased absenteeism and turnover (SHRM). 

Promoting Open Communication: 

Open communication is the cornerstone of healing. Create a safe space for employees to express concerns and anxieties. Consider these options: 

  • Regular Team Meetings: Schedule dedicated time for open discussions. Focus on the future and address concerns proactively. 
  • One-on-One Sessions: Provide individual space for employees to discuss their feelings and receive personalized support from managers. 
  • Anonymous Suggestion Boxes: Offer an outlet for employees to express concerns confidentially. 

Leadership’s Role in Fostering Unity: 

Leaders set the tone. They need to: 

  • Actively Address Concerns: Hold open forums, answer questions honestly, and acknowledge the emotional impact of layoffs. 
  • Communicate the Vision: Clearly articulate the company’s future direction and how each team member contributes to success. 
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate collaborative behavior, celebrate teamwork, and mentor team members to embrace collaboration over competition. 

Team-Building Activities: 

Revive team spirit through engaging activities that promote collaboration and trust. Here are some ideas: 

  • Team-Building Workshops: Focus on communication, problem-solving, and fostering a sense of shared purpose. 
  • Offsite Events: Organize volunteer outings, social gatherings, or team lunches to build connections outside the office. 
  • Virtual Activities: For remote teams, consider online games, collaborative brainstorming sessions, or virtual talent shows. 

Skill Enhancement Programs: 

Investing in skill development empowers employees and reduces anxieties about being replaceable. 

  • Training Programs: Offer courses that align with future company goals and individual career aspirations. 
  • Mentorship Programs: Connect experienced team members with newer colleagues to provide guidance and foster knowledge sharing. 
  • Career Pathing: Give the people what they want. Career Pathing is in our DNA and is one of the strongest connectors within employee/employer relations. Jonathan D. Reynolds, Titus Talent CEO and Visionary shares that, “If you want to attract the best people you need to give them a vision to inspire them and an impactful career path to keep them.” In the aftermath of a layoff, this may seem like a counterintuitive move, but the sense of hope, future, and positivity it brings will help to galvanize your teams. 

For additional resources on career pathing check out: 

Jonathan Reynolds’s personal blog – Give the People What They Want 

Talent Talks Podcast – Crafting Career Paths that Inspire Your People 

Recognizing and Rewarding Positive Behavior: 

Highlight and celebrate collaboration! 

  • Public Recognition: Acknowledge team achievements during meetings or company-wide communications.  
  • Incentive Programs: Implement reward systems that incentivize teamwork and collaborative problem-solving. 
  • Peer Recognition Programs: Create a platform for colleagues to appreciate each other’s contributions. In the world of EOS®, our L10 meetings and weekly Huddles make space for shout-outs and peer recognition.  

The Wrap Up, and Our Free Guide: 

Rebuilding a positive team culture post-layoffs is a journey, not a destination. By prioritizing open communication, fostering leadership transparency, investing in team building and skill development, and celebrating collaborative behavior, you can turn the tide. At Titus Talent Strategies, we believe a strong, unified team, and how your leaders respond is the key to sustainable success, especially in the face of challenges. 

If you’ve been affected by layoffs or you’re looking for a way to lead your team through change, we have a Learning and Development guide that will provide you with the tools to deepen how you support your teams and level up performance.  

It’s called our Turning Managers into Coaches Guide. Download it today to see why coaching and collaboration have taken over as the most effective way for managers to accelerate the development of employees and lift their organizations to higher levels of achievement.

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