Corporate CPR Episode 71: What to do in the Wake of a Layoff

March 22, 2023

On today’s show, we discuss what your company should be doing in the wake of a layoff.

Miriam Meima has been a Coach & Facilitator for over twenty years.  She has closely studied the overlap between business and psychology in effort to learn how to support her clients in finding simple ways to be authentic and effective simultaneously.  Miriam has coached founders/executives and supported leadership development strategies at Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn, Hims & Hers, Glassdoor, Glossier and 100s of start-ups of all sizes across industries and regions.  

She has worked closely with the thought leaders studying the link between culture and bottom-line success.  Miriam has a unique ability to understand an entire system and how to most effectively influence change, taking into consideration the infinite complexity of the individual, company and current market conditions. She is well known for her success with cultural change and often speaks on the topic of “How to Preserve your Culture While You Scale.” 

Miriam’s credentials include an MA in Organizational & Management Development, a BA in Business & Psychology. She is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation, a Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Coaching and a member of Forbes Coaches Council.  Her work exists in the sweet spot blending left-brain research and right-brain creativity.  

After growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan (United States), and living in Spain, Colorado and Hawaii, Miriam now lives in New York City with her husband.  Miriam believes she is doing the work she was born to do and greets each new day with a sense of optimism.  

Key Takeaways:

Advice for those in companies that are having to lay off and experiencing fear:

  • Manage yourself first. Notice how you’re feeling and create a path to get back to bringing your best self.
  • Don’t make any major life decisions for a bit.
  • Focus on what you can control.
    • Solidify your value in the organization. Demonstrate your impact. Touch base with stakeholders to build bridges. Evaluate how you can improve.
    • Think about your next step if you do need another opportunity and connect with people that could help. Build the skills you will need if you decide to make a change.

As a manager, how do you help those on your team after a layoff?

  • Normalize the change
  • Be empathetic
  • Provide short term wins
  • Be more present and personable

As a leader, what if you see that your managers don’t have the skills to manage through a layoff? How should you prepare?

  • Lean into the relationship the managers have with the organization. Their relationship with direct reports is an extension of that. Give managers a safe space to express their own negative feelings so they don’t express them to their direct reports.
  • Be proactive and have a playbook to give them. Give them the information that they need to be able to move forward.

Symptoms of problems after a layoff:

  • Pace of communication. If the pace slows, it’s possible your team is feeling insecure or overwhelmed and disengaging.
    • For these people, it’s great to rally the team and encourage them in the mission ahead.
  • Stress level. Short bursts of high stress are expected, but there should be an end in sight. We don’t want to burn out the people we are retaining.
    • For these people, it’s great to have a conversation about priorities. Understand what the top ones are and be willing to let go of some of the lower ones without fear.

If the company does need to be leaner, how do you lead employees in the “less is more” mantra?

  • Focus to find ways to work smarter, not harder.
  • Have a brainstorming session on creative ways to change.
    • For optimization: Start – Stop – Continue exercise.
    • For innovation: Yes And exercise.

Top 3 Takeaways:

  • Manage yourself first – take care of yourself.
  • Be aware of the impact you’re having on others.
  • Smile. Some of the most seasoned leaders can move through difficult problems with a smile, and that is accessible to more of us.

Connect with Miriam Meima:



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