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How To Boost Employee Morale Before, During and After Smartsizing

October 17, 2022
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Dealing with layoffs and the resulting fallout after a company downsizes can be one of the most difficult tasks to face for any manager or human resource professional. It's no secret that layoffs can take a major hit on company morale, not just for the workers who are being laid off, but for those who remain. Finding ways of keeping morale high in a workplace that has just downsized can be tricky, but it's vital. Taking steps to reassure your remaining workers that they are valued and their jobs are secure can go a long way toward cementing company loyalty and making your business a place where employees want to work.

Behind the Wave of Smartsizing

The headline on the Business Insider article is stark: "A Wave of Layoffs Is Sweeping the U.S." The article goes on to detail dozens of businesses that have downsized since the beginning of 2022, including many that made headlines: Netflix, Gap, Carvana, Ford Motor Company, Peloton and Wayfair among them. These layoffs follow two years of corporate and labor downsizing during COVID-19 when nearly 15% of U.S. adults reported that they were laid off because of the pandemic. While many of those were rehired — or found other jobs when businesses reopened — other businesses shed workers they'd hired to deal with a temporary boost in work during the shutdowns. To compound things even further, the Federal Reserve's plan to fight inflation has many experts fearing that even more layoffs are coming. The truth is, though, that layoffs are an unfortunate fact of life in the modern workplace. Even without the extraordinary pressures of the last few years, businesses often choose to reduce their workforce for strategic reasons — to cut costs in the face of bankruptcy, because they've adopted new technology that requires fewer workers, or because a project has ended. When layoffs happen, the fallout can negatively affect everyone involved — and your business suffers. Taking an open, transparent approach to the situation is one of the most effective ways of managing employee morale before, during and after the workforce reduction. These tips can help you plan how to boost employee morale during these difficult times.

Before Layoffs — Make a Plan and Communicate It

There are a few throughlines in managing employee morale during layoffs — careful planning, open communication, transparency and respect for your employees. This starts from the moment your company decides to restructure.

Have a Plan and a Process

Creating a layoff process — preferably before you ever have to use it — is helpful for many reasons, not the least of which is making sure that your company is in regulatory compliance. More importantly, when there's a process, it informs everyone in the chain of command, from the front office to line managers, of their role and responsibilities.

Communicate Openly, Effectively and Respectfully

Carefully consider how you'll announce the layoffs — who will tell employees, how they'll deliver the news and what they'll say. In general, the news should come from a direct supervisor and should be delivered in person. The announcement should include the reasons for the downsizing, the steps the company has taken and what employees can expect to happen over the next several days. The person delivering it should express compassion and understanding, and be prepared to answer questions and manage employee reactions. The manager should also explain any assistance and benefits the company will provide for the workers whose jobs will be eliminated, and make a promise to keep the lines of communication open throughout the transition to a smaller workforce. Above all else, be honest and authentic in all of your communications. Your employees deserve your honesty.

Speak With Individual Employees Privately

Schedule private interviews with employees to discuss particulars about their situations. Give them time and space to express their emotions, and listen compassionately. Have any paperwork and informational handouts prepared in advance, and go through them together. Provide them with any information they need to access accrued benefits, as well as any processes or paperwork they need to transfer insurance policies, employee giving accounts and other benefits to themselves.

During Layoffs — Be Transparent and Compassionate

The days and weeks immediately after an announced downsizing can be among the most difficult to manage. You can make it easier when you follow a few simple guidelines.

Get It Done Quickly

If possible, inform all employees that are part of the downsizing immediately. The longer it takes for everyone to know their status, the more time your employees will spend stressing and worrying if their job is on the line.

Communicate New Directions Clearly and Promptly

Your remaining employees — known colloquially as survivors — know that things are going to be changing. Be open and honest about the plan going forward, and listen to any feedback they offer. The better they understand their evolving role — and the company's evolving plan — the more comfortable it will be for everyone.

Be Available

As employees settle into their new workplace environment, make yourself available as much as possible. Don't just wait for them to come to you. Go out of your way to check in with people. Reassure them, solicit their feedback on changes and step in to take up the slack as people adjust.

After Layoffs — Reassure, Reconfigure and Stabilize

As the workplace stabilizes, recognize that employees may still be dealing with the aftereffects. Downsizing survivors often have complicated feelings, ranging from continuing anxiety to survivor's guilt. The steps you take now are not just a short-term strategy — think of them as a blueprint for employee engagement going forward.

Reconfigure and Regroup

Continue to be available to answer questions and help employees sort through their new responsibilities and roles. Listen to concerns openly and with compassion, and be willing to take feedback and criticism without taking it personally.

Rebuild Trust and Goodwill

This is the time to turn back to everything you know about building a healthy workplace culture and put it into practice. Keep in mind that this is a key "moment that matters," and the actions you take now will resonate with employees for as long as they stay with you. For example:

  • You can offset the reality of giving employees more responsibility by shifting to more flexible schedules that take their lives into account
  • Give employees more voice in decisions that affect them most
  • Review your current benefits package with your employees and find ways to make it more meaningful to them

The Bottom Line

Restructuring and downsizing are never fun, but this can be an opportunity to make other positive changes in your company. Setting up a meaningful employee giving program is one of those positive changes. Groundswell can help you get a corporate giving program up and running faster than any other. Our platform makes the entire giving process more efficient by establishing a personal giving fund for each employee while reducing the amount of tracking and work for your HR department. Best of all, it's designed to respect and support all of your employees' diverse perspectives and shows them that you're truly committed to building a respectful, inclusive, diverse workplace for everyone.

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Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses

Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today

In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.

Download Sample Policy

Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy

Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism.  Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.

1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact

One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.

2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice

Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.

3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions

“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.

4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change

Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.

Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?

Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.

Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
  • Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
  • Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
  • Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.

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An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.

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5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday

Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity

Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.

For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.

At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.

1. Make Giving Easy:

A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.

2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:

Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!

3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:

Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.

4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:

Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.

5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:

Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.

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12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask

In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.

Scroll down for a free survey template below.

Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.

Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?

Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.

How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?

Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.

Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?

Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.

Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.

Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?

The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.

Did you know? Two-thirds of employees say it’s important for a company to align to their values.

Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?

With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.

Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?

This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.

How do specific benefit categories fare?

By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?

What additional benefits do employees desire?

Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"

If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.

How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?

While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.

There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.

What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?

Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact.  Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.

[Free Template] Employee Benefits Survey Questions

  1. How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
  2. Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
  3. Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
  4. Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
  5. Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
  6. How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
  7. How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
  8. How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
  9. How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
  10. How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
  11. How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
  12. If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?
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