How To Engage Employees When Your Tech Business Has Layoffs

AI, economic headwinds, and many other factors have made for a perfect storm in the tech industry. After nearly two decades of meteoric jobs growth, the sector began experiencing mass layoffs in 2022. These layoffs have continued into 2024, with Crunchbase’s tech layoffs tracker indicating that 32,445 people had lost their jobs as of April 12, 2024. 

Mass layoffs may be most prevalent in the tech industry, but layoffs are impacting every sector. This has led to “The Great Gloom,” a trend that is seeing employees stay in jobs they may not necessarily be engaged in given the lack of opportunities on the job market. This, however, poses a problem for managers; employee engagement sharply drops off when they’re worried about whether or not they’ll have a job in the near future. 

Here are some ways to keep employees engaged.

1. Give Employees a Clear Picture of Company Health

If your remaining staff have seen the ax fall around them, they are likely going to wonder when it will fall on them. We have a number of tips to alleviate employee anxiety about layoffs here, but to reiterate one of the most important ones - make sure your staff know the state of the company’s health. 

This can look like a quarterly internal newsletter, emails from management when there are important changes; essentially, you should have an internal communication strategy in place to let employees know what’s happening. If you can only do one thing to alleviate employee anxiety, this should be it.

2. Now is The Time For Increased Focus on Mental Health

Mental health has been a consistent focus for employers for almost a decade, especially in the tech sector. Gallup puts forward that employee engagement is foundational to improving employee mental health, with an engaged employee being five times more likely to say that their job has a positive impact on their mental health. 

There are other measures that can be taken. Even if your company’s bottom line has been hit, now isn’t the time to gut benefits like access to therapy, paid time off, or anything else that can contribute to better mental health for your staff. Try to build a firewall around these services as essential. If the company can’t afford costly psychologists or psychiatrists, at least ensure that your staff have access to cheaper online mental health services.

3. Plugging Employees Back Into The Company’s Purpose

CEO and author Jenn Lim summarizes the issue of employee disengagement: “The true problem with employee engagement isn’t a lack of motivation but a disconnect between the employee and the organization’s purpose.”

This firmly slams the ball back into management’s court. Your team is already motivated by the fact that they have a job where their former co-workers do not. It’s not the best motivation, but it is powerful. They need a sense of purpose to truly engage, and it is management’s job to give them one. 

Start by coming up with a definition of what their purpose should be. Your company and department should have specific goals to meet for each quarter and annually. Make sure your workflows are designed to meet those goals, and have employee engagement and productivity solutions in place that can help your employees see how their work is driving towards fulfilling company and department-wide KPIs. Those solutions can look like project management tools, CRM analytics, and an employee productivity monitoring solution like Prodoscore.

Tips For Keeping Tech Industry Employees Engaged

Employees in the tech sector face unique challenges, including drastically increased workloads. It may take a little more than an internal newsletter and transparent metrics to keep them engaged. 

According to Spiceworks, people-first HR and management are the answers to increasing employee engagement in the tech sector. Some of their tips include:

  • Ensuring that employees are well-resourced and trained properly 
  • Embracing AI for low-level functions with a well-crafted AI policy in place
  • Arm-in-arm management instead of top-down management
  • CEO visibility in communications, town halls, and quarterly Meet and Greet sessions
  • Anonymized new hire surveys (which could be extended to all employees) 

To add to this, employees may feel more secure with the company if they are offered opportunities for cross-department training so they can be moved into another department rather than being laid off. Your marketing staff, for example, could be moved into sales enablement with the right training if AI makes their jobs redundant. 

The tech sector is showing hopeful signs of rebounding, which means you want to retain the very best employees who have remained at your business through rounds of layoffs. They will be vital in ensuring that your business remains profitable. Prodoscore can help by providing insight into their productivity, delivering tips and markers, and enabling managers to utilize real-time employee data with a dashboard to determine when they may be less engaged.

How will visibility impact your business?