Ford Is Laying Off 7,000 People. How Can Its Leaders Manage The Fallout?

Ford Motor announced a new round of layoffs on May 20, 2019. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) ASSOCIATED PRESS Recently, Ford Motor announced it would lay off 500 employees in the United States, nearing the end of a two-year effort to reduce its salaried workforce by 10% — or nearly 7,000 people. When layoffs from earlier this year…

Ford Is Laying Off 7,000 People. How Can Its Leaders Manage The Fallout?

Ford Motor announced a new round of layoffs on May 20, 2019. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Recently, Ford Motor announced it would lay off 500 employees in the United States, nearing the end of a two-year effort to reduce its salaried workforce by 10% — or nearly 7,000 people. When layoffs from earlier this year are included in the tally, a total of 800 white-collar workers in the U.S. will lose their jobs by August.
While reductions in force (RIFs) are often inevitable — due to myriad reasons, including business shifts, economic downturns, or overzealous hiring — their effects can ripple far beyond the individuals who leave the company. One academic study, for example, found that an RIF of just 1% can lead to a 31% increase in voluntary turnover the following year. Another discovered that “survivors” of layoffs experience significant declines in job satisfaction (41%), organizational commitment (36%), and job performance (20%).
“Layoffs are first and foremost about your people: those who will be let go, those who remain with the company, and the leaders who guide the company through the process,” Beth Steinberg, a talent leader in the tech world, told First Round Review. Noting that “even the most capable leaders can falter” under the emotion and pressure caused by RIFs, she said organizations need a process that “couples attentive management with a thoughtful plan.” With that in mind, here are three strategies for leaders to successfully navigate the aftermath of a large-scale layoff such as Ford’s.

Maintain Open Lines of Communication
First and foremost comes clear communication, as it is the key to fostering trust with those who leave and those who stay. “[I]n the absence of regular, open communication, people will seek to fill in the blanks with unconfirmed – often untrue – information,” wrote management consultant Terina Allen in Forbes. “Be sure to serve as a valid and dependable source of information and resist the temptation to appear secretive, inaccessible, or withdrawn.”
In that vein, leaders should speak directly, and avoid talking around the issue or creating a falsely positive spin. “[W]hen you deliver half-truths or packaged messages, or corporate positioning when a crisis is present, employees (people) can be at their worst,” wrote Brendan Reid, author
Read More From Publisher