What Can Leaders Do to Boost Morale After a Retrenchment?

9/11/2020, By Sze-Yen Chee

Dear Yen,  

My company has just completed a RIF exercise. I feel that people are feeling “lost”. What can I do to improve the morale of the team? Is it appropriate to organize a team bonding event of some kind? 

Best, Daniel

Dear Daniel, 

If the company has just gone through a major RIF, the remaining staff will experience a gamut of emotions. 

It’s important that you give them the space to process their emotions, but also to lead the team through the change. Here are some suggestions: 

1) If the RIF is over, it is now the time to focus on recovery. Call for a team meeting to reinforce the corporate message of recovery, business continuity, or renewal. State that you will be available for 1-1 discussions if required. 

 2) Your team members are probably concerned if there will be more RIFs and whether they will be the next to be impacted. Do assure them that the RIF is over. 

 3) The emotions may include Guilt, Relief, Resentment, Envy, and Anger. Acknowledge that they will feel a variety of emotions, and refocus their energies on the future. 

If appropriate, organize a farewell event to acknowledge the contributions of those who have been retrenched. It is extremely important to be open and transparent about the business plans to avoid speculation and unhealthy negativity. We conduct post-RIF workshops to help teams heal and move forward. 

Do contact us if you have further questions. 

 Best regards, 

Executive Director/CoFounder, Career Agility International