When Teams Shrink

Coping with Layoffs, and Moving On

"Downsizing" can be tough for those who remain too.

© iStockphoto/Peepo

You breathe a big sigh of relief.

Your company has just gone through a heavy round of layoffs, and you're one of the lucky ones.

You still have a job.

Many of your co-workers, however, don't. You and the other survivors watch sadly as they clean out their offices, and walk slowly out of the building, carrying boxes of personal possessions.

Now, the rest of you are experiencing a range of emotions ranging from guilt to relief, anger, and depression. And most of you are anxious and worried – after all, how do you know you won't be next?

If you've had to watch team members lose their jobs, then you know how hard it can be. But coping, and succeeding, in the aftermath can be difficult. There are several impacts, both practical and emotional, that can result from company layoffs.

In this article, we'll look at what you can expect to experience when members of your team lose their jobs. And we'll show you how to handle the ups and downs of dealing with a reduced team – including the loss of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs).

The Practical Impact of Layoffs

When co-workers are laid off, the obvious question is, who's going to do all of their work? Of course, the things they did may no longer be needed – the work may have been automated, or a slump in sales may mean that there is less customer service work to be done. In situations where work is shared by a team – such as a pool of legal secretaries in a law office – there may be as much to do as ever. But do those who are left have the KSAs, and the capacity, to do the work that needs to be done?

Getting yourself, and your team, trained and ready to take on new responsibilities can definitely be challenging, especially as your people are probably not going to be paid extra for it.

If you're a team leader, you will need to

... for the complete article:

Mind Tools Club members, click here.

Join the Mind Tools Club to finish this article AND get 1,000 more resources

Join now for just $1, first month

"When I started using Mind Tools, I was not in a supervisory position. Now I am. Along with that came a 12% increase in salary." – Pat Degan, Houston, USA
Add this article to My Learning Plan

Where to go from here:

Join the Mind Tools Club

Click to join Mind Tools
Printer-friendly version
Return to the top of the page

Create a Login to Save Your Learning Plan

This ensures that you don’t lose your plan.


Connect with…

Or create a Mind Tools login. Existing user? Log in here.
Log in with your existing Mind Tools details
Lost Username or Password
You are now logged in…

Lost username or password?

Please enter your username or email address and we'll send you a reminder.

Thank You!

Your log in details have been sent to the email account you registered with. Please check your email to reset your login details.

Create a Mind Tools Login
Your plan has been created.

While you're here, subscribe to our FREE newsletter?

Learn a new career skill every week, and get our Personal Development Plan workbook (worth $19.99) when you subscribe.


Thank You!

Please check your Inbox, and click on the link in the email from us. We can then send you the newsletter.