No matter what language organizations use—layoffs, restructuring, downsizing or reorganization—whenever employees are let go, a sense of disengagement and loss of trust can develop among the remaining employees.

Here are six tips to help you offer support to employees during a reorganization.

1. Prepare leadership to clearly communicate the nature of the reorganization and the decision-making process. Clarify job expectations and next steps. Ensure that leaders understand the impact on the organization and on all individuals.

2. Build understanding of mental health in the workplace. Offer professional training for managers and employees on the signs and symptoms of mental health issues, how to appropriately make referrals and what resources are available.

3. Create a healthy, respectful workplace. Promote the development of individual resilience as a professional skill (e.g., healthy coping skills, assertiveness). Develop social supports in the workplace among colleagues; give them work time to develop deeper relationships and engage in meaningful dialogue on non-work topics.

4. Review the compensation package through a mental health lens. Free ongoing access to a variety of resources can encourage employees’ feelings of security and psychological safety. Financial counselling, confidential counselling and/or psychological services, as well as flexible working arrangements, all pay off in the long run.

5. Focus on the future but acknowledge the past. Executors should be clear about the organization’s direction to create optimism about the future; acting as if it’s “business as usual” shows a lack of compassion for the roles and responsibilities that were maintained by the victims.

6. Give employees control over their everyday work lives. When a reorganization occurs, employees can lose their sense of control; restoring it will help to develop trust and reduce anxiety.

Suzanne Jolly is a mental health advocate and workplace health consultant in Vancouver.

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in Benefits Canada.

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