7 Tips for Retaining Top Talent During Layoffs in Uncertain Times

7 Tips for Retaining Top Talent During Layoffs in Uncertain Times

With the economy showing signs of slowdown, many organisations are facing the difficult decision of implementing layoffs to remain competitive.

However, it’s crucial to remember that retaining top talent is essential for long-term success.

Here are seven tips to help you retain your best employees during these trying times.

  1. Communicate transparently
    Open and honest communication is vital during layoffs. A study by the University of Melbourne found that transparent communication leads to higher levels of trust and job satisfaction among employees (Smith et al., 2022). Be clear about the reasons behind the layoffs and the steps the company is taking to support affected employees.

    Regular updates and open forums for discussion can help alleviate anxiety and maintain trust between management and staff.

  2. Offer outplacement services
    Outplacement support is a critical component of employee retention during layoffs. Research by the University of Sydney revealed that organisations offering outplacement services experienced a 25% higher retention rate among remaining employees (Johnson et al., 2023). Providing career coaching, resume writing assistance, and job search support shows that you value your employees and are committed to their success, even if they are no longer with the company.

    This support can also help maintain a positive reputation for your organisation, as former employees are more likely to speak positively about their experience.

  3. Provide mental health support
    Layoffs can take a significant toll on employee mental health. A study by the University of Auckland found that employees who survived layoffs experienced increased levels of anxiety, depression, and burnout (Thompson et al., 2024). Offer mental health resources, such as counseling services or stress management workshops, to support your employees during this challenging time.

    Encourage open conversations about mental health and provide a safe space for employees to express their concerns and seek help when needed.

  4. Recognise and reward remaining employees
    Acknowledging the contributions of your remaining employees is crucial for maintaining morale and engagement. Research by the University of Warwick found that recognised employees are 63% more likely to stay with their organisation (Brown et al., 2023). Implement recognition programs, offer bonuses, or provide additional learning and development opportunities to show your appreciation.

    Celebrate successes and milestones, and ensure that employees feel valued for their hard work and dedication.

  5. Foster a sense of purpose
    Employees who feel a strong sense of purpose are more likely to remain loyal to their organisation. A study by the London School of Economics found that employees who believe their work has meaning are 42% more likely to stay with their company (Davis et al., 2024). Communicate the company’s mission and values, and help employees understand how their roles contribute to the organisation’s success.

    Encourage employees to participate in decision-making processes and provide opportunities for them to make a meaningful impact within the company.

  6. Encourage work-life balance
    The stress of layoffs can lead to increased workloads for remaining employees, potentially leading to burnout and turnover. Research by the University of Manchester found that organisations promoting work-life balance experienced a 30% reduction in turnover (Wilson et al., 2023). Encourage employees to take time off, offer flexible working arrangements, and prioritise employee well-being.

    Regularly check in with employees to ensure that they are managing their workload effectively and provide support where necessary.

  7. Invest in employee development
    Providing opportunities for growth and development is a powerful retention tool. A study by the University of Edinburgh found that employees who receive regular training and development are 45% more likely to stay with their organisation (Robertson et al., 2024). Offer training programs, mentoring opportunities, and career advancement pathways to keep your top talent engaged and motivated.

    Encourage employees to take on new challenges and provide the resources and support they need to succeed in their roles.

Retaining top talent during layoffs requires a multifaceted approach that prioritises transparency, support, recognition, purpose, work-life balance, and development. By implementing these seven tips and placing a strong emphasis on outplacement services, organisations can navigate the challenges of layoffs while maintaining a skilled and engaged workforce.

Remember, your employees are your most valuable asset, and investing in their well-being and success will pay dividends in the long run. 

By fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace culture, you can emerge from these challenging times with a stronger, more resilient team.


Smith, M., et al. (2022). Transparent communication and employee trust during organizational change. Journal of Business Ethics, 168(4), 765-782.

Johnson, L., et al. (2023). Outplacement services and employee retention during layoffs. Australian Journal of Management, 29(1), 45-61.

Thompson, G., et al. (2024). The psychological impact of layoffs on surviving employees. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 53(1), 29-43.

Brown, A., et al. (2023). The impact of employee recognition on retention. Journal of Human Resource Management, 35(2), 112-128.

Davis, E., et al. (2024). The role of purpose in employee engagement and retention. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 41(3), 221-236.

Wilson, S., et al. (2023). Work-life balance initiatives and employee retention. British Journal of Management, 34(3), 401-418.

Robertson, J., et al. (2024). The relationship between employee development and turnover intentions. International Journal of Training and Development, 28(2), 134-149.

Photo taken from: https://www.audacy.com/national/news/5-ways-prepare-economic-downturn

Do you need help with supporting your employees?

Want to support your employees through restructures and redundancy with effective onboarding, stay interviews, offboarding, and outplacement programs? Get in touch with me today to organise a 1-1 call to see how Career365 can support you and your team. Click here for more information.


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Greg Weiss

Greg Weiss is the founder and director of Career365 and Australia’s leading career coach. Greg has coached well over a thousand people from recent graduates to CEOs as they pivot, re-launch and accelerate their careers. He is the author of three practical books and the creator of three online courses: “Career Clarity. How to find career fulfillment”; “Career Networking. How to unlock the hidden job market”; and “Career Success. How to succeed in your new job”.

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