How to Rebuild Team Morale After Layoffs

By: | Updated: February 26, 2024

You found our guide on rebuilding team morale and motivating employees after layoffs.

Ways to rebuild team morale after layoffs are strategies that will restore a sense of unity and purpose within a workforce and provide support and motivation to the remaining employees. Examples include reassuring the remaining workers, developing employees’ skills, and focusing on team building activities. Understanding this practice is essential because organizations will equip themselves with ways to support workers after a layoff. Companies can also use this guide to build team morale and increase workers’ productivity.

These strategies manage the aftermath of employee attrition and may appear in books on change management. Such best practices are ways to avoid toxic workplaces following mass layoffs. These ideas are ways to boost morale and motivation at work and help organizations reap the benefits of employee engagement.

This article covers:

  • motivating and maintaining morale during downsizing
  • sample message to employees after layoffs
  • how to support your remaining employees after a layoff
  • team building activities after layoffs

Here is what you need to know!

Motivating and maintaining morale during downsizing

Downsizing, or reducing the size of a company’s workforce, can be a difficult and stressful experience for remaining workers. As a result, companies are at risk of a reduction in employee productivity and losing top talent. However, organizations can take various measures to motivate and maintain team morale after downsizing.

Examples of ways to motivate and maintain morale during downsizing.

1. Communicate effectively

The lack of communication can demoralize your remaining employees after a layoff. Maintaining a culture of secrecy by withholding information will cause a toxic workplace culture with false rumors. Workers may be unsure of why the company let go of their peers and what the future looks like in the organization. To eliminate the uncertainty, have an open communication platform where company leaders address workers’ concerns.

Communication tips after a layoff:

  • Focus on frequent one-on-one meetings – Employees and managers can share feedback in a safe environment through one-on-one sessions. These meetings can also promote better relationships between organizational leadership and remaining employees. If you have a large workforce, then you can form focus groups where workers are free to share feedback without the fear of consequences.
  • Be direct, compassionate, and honest – While you may fear losing your top talent, being open and compassionate is a great way to reassure your workforce. You can even use financial projections and explain why specific roles have become obsolete. However, we advise against making unreasonable promises.
  • Communicate organizational changes – Be sure to clearly depict how the organization will look after the layoffs. For example, you can highlight each employee’s tasks and how the changes will improve the company’s performance.

It is a good idea to hold regular open meetings to collect employee feedback that can identify business opportunities or risks. You will also understand the team members’ perceptions and create a feeling of belonging among workers.

2. Reassure the remaining workers

Reassuring the remaining workers is a top tip for motivating and maintaining morale after downsizing. An effective way to reassure your team members is by appreciating their efforts in everyday tasks. You do not have to wait for year-end to hold appreciation awards. Instead, have frequent recognition activities.


  • Monthly recognition awards
  • Thank you notes
  • Social media praise
  • Trophies
  • Wall of fame

These activities will help team members overcome the insecurity and anxiety about their job safety and contributions to the company after a layoff.

For more ideas, check out this list of employee appreciation ideas for in-house teams or employee appreciation week ideas for companies.

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3. Focus on building team cohesion

After a layoff, workers may find themselves working with different colleagues for the first time. It can be challenging for employees to learn how to work together effectively. Rather than waiting for workers to build cohesive teams on their own, you can accelerate the process through team building exercises. If you are on a limited budget, focus on simple yet engaging activities. For instance, workers can get to know each other during lunch breaks or after-work drinks. The right choice of team building activities can help teams work more effectively. As a company leader, you will also learn your workers’ strengths and weaknesses.

​Here is a list of team building exercises.

4. Do not ignore workers’ feelings

Layoffs mean that your remaining workers may have lost their closest colleagues, making the work environment a trigger for pain. A great strategy to rebuild your team’s morale is recognizing feelings of uncertainty, regret, denial, and loss among team members. For instance, you may have let go of the team leader or the social glue in a department. A great fantastic idea is recognizing the achievements of the laid-off workers. You can also encourage the remaining team members to reach out to laid-off employees and offer support where possible. For instance, your workers could help by providing references, making network introductions, and reviewing resumes.

By communicating openly, focusing on team cohesion, and reassuring remaining employees, organizations can help their workers cope with a layoff.

Sample message to employees after layoffs

One of the simplest ways organizations can reassure remaining employees is through messages. Company leaders can use these strategies to communicate the changes in the organization. However, we advise that you keep the messages direct and brief.


  • I want to appreciate your continued commitment and dedication to our organization. The recent layoffs were difficult for all of us, and it can be challenging to move forward after such a significant change. However, I have confidence in every one of you, and I know we will come out of this stronger than ever. I encourage you to lean on each other for support during this time. Do not hesitate to reach out to me or your manager if you need any form of support.
  • I want to express my sincere gratitude for your hard work and dedication to our company. We appreciate and value your contribution to the growth of the business. While this may be a stressful time for all of us, I want to assure you that we will support in all ways possible through this transition. Please get in touch with your manager or team leaders if you have any concerns or questions.
  • As you know, we have recently undergone significant organizational changes. We understand that these changes are difficult for all stakeholders. However, I want to assure you that we will support our remaining team members during this difficult period. I encourage you to continue working hard and supporting each other as we move forward. The management team is ready to offer any support that you may need.
  • I want to express my sincere gratitude for your hard work and dedication to the company, especially during this difficult time. With the recent layoffs, it may be challenging at the start for everyone. However, we are confident we have the right team to overcome this challenge. Remember to support each other and seek help from the management team where needed.

Be sure to thank the remaining workers, offer support during the transition period, and highlight the next steps for the remaining workers.

How to support your remaining employees after a layoff

Layoffs can cause a sense of anguish among team members. Your workers could be dealing with losing work friends, increased job insecurity, and uncertainty about organizational changes. However, managers can take calculated steps to help team members transition through the layoff and become more productive.

Here are some ways to support remaining staff after a layoff.

1. Develop team members’ skills

After a layoff, it is a possibility that the remaining workers will pick up some new roles. You must recognize that the employees may need opportunities to develop new skills or improve their existing capabilities. As an effective manager, focus on areas where individual workers need additional training. Be careful about giving workers the pressure to perform new roles and recognize that there is a learning curve before team members can take up the new roles individually.

Here is a comprehensive list of professional development ideas, topics, and activities.

2. Do not overload remaining workers

With a smaller workforce, employees often assume more duties. The changes in work duties and consolidation of different roles can put a strain on individual workers. However, company leaders can rebalance each employee’s workload to reduce stress. For instance, organizations can redesign existing work schedules to accommodate the changes. A great tip for achieving an optimal workload for each employee is having open conversations about how many tasks each team member can handle. You can point out the low-priority tasks that you can eliminate or delay. Also, ensure that employees have the proper training to accommodate new roles.

Here are work burnout signs and symptoms for employees.

3. Create a support network

Layoffs can be incredibly tough on remaining workers. One way that you can use to boost workers’ morale is through a support network where workers can express their concerns and get help. A support team could include colleagues, company leaders, or industry experts. When creating support networks for junior workers, do not forget senior leaders. Front-line managers often take the burden off their teams. Thus, your team of managers also need constant support. Through these groups, workers can get resources to help them cope with the transition.

4. Collect and respond to feedback

It would be difficult to support your workforce without information on specific areas where teams require help. Thus, we encourage organizations to conduct regular company-wide surveys and seek ways to implement suggestions. You can also hold dialogues to reach a common agreement with employees through stakeholders’ consultation. Asking for feedback can help determine the areas that need new talent and how the company can improve the workplace culture. However, create a safe space that allows workers to share feedback without fearing judgment or consequences. Regular feedback will help foster better relationships between employees and the management team.

Supporting your remaining employees after a layoff is a sure way to maintain morale and productivity. Recognizing and appreciating your team’s hard work can help your employees feel more confident and secure in their jobs. Supporting your remaining employees is essential for the wellbeing of the individual employees and the company.

​Here is a list of employee engagement survey questions.

Team building activities after layoffs

Team building activities are some of the best tips to rebuild team morale and motivate a workforce after a layoff. However, you have to be very strategic when selecting the type of team building activities. We advise that you choose ideas that will promote teamwork while being mindful of the company’s financial performance. Also, you want to create the ideal environment by respecting workers’ emotional wellbeing after a layoff.


1. Compliment circle

A compliment circle is a fantastic choice of team building activity after layoffs. The activity allows team members to show appreciation for each other in a relaxed environment. For a simpler version, let participants take up to three minutes to compliment one employee. Participants are free to mention both work and non-work-related ideas. For example, one employee can say, “I want to thank Rose for holding the door for me this morning’ or ‘I want to thank Dan for his help in X project.” If you are short on time, then you could let workers form a circle. Each employee will give two compliments to the colleague on their right side. Company leaders could start by giving a group compliment.

2. Solve a Puzzle

Solving a puzzle is a great team building idea that requires the participation of all team members. You could start by dividing workers into small groups of up to five players. Then, get different puzzles and give each team up to ten minutes to complete them. When the time runs out, you can then take a moment to reflect on the puzzle-building experience. Solving puzzles can help workers reinforce teamwork and highlight each participant’s unique strengths.

​Here is a list of team building puzzles.

3. Blindfold games

Blindfold games can help improve trust among your remaining employees. For these activities, you can pair employees, preferably workers who don’t typically work closely. Then, give the participants prompts where the blindfolded participant will lead the entire group.


  • Moving an item to the opposite side of the room
  • Drawing a picture
  • Filling a bottle with water
  • Hide and seek
  • Blindfold line up – Participants should line up according to height, name in alphabetic order, shoe size, and birth date.

Blindfold games will also boost the team’s communication skills. Teams will also learn more about each other as they overcome the game’s challenges.

4. Company-wide contests

Company-wide contests are a great bet if you want to build a culture of healthy competition among your remaining employees. These activities require participants to put their best foot forward and strive to win the contests.


  • Guacamole making
  • Singing
  • Drawing
  • Desk decorating face-offs
  • Costume contests

Company-wide contests will also reenergize, motivate workers, and improve the work environment after a layoff. For successful contests, be sure to request volunteers rather than mandating the participation of all employees. Also, aim for activities that revolve around your workers’ interests and offer prizes to the winners.

For more tips, check out this list of work competition games and contest ideas for teams or competitive team building games for work.

5. Charity work

If your employees are passionate about a particular initiative or cause, then you could take a day to support a local organization. Charity activities require minimal planning and are effective team building activities. In addition, workers will get a chance to bond through positive impacts on the community. If possible, focus on outdoor activities that employees will enjoy. You can even organize a company-wide run and use the proceeds to support an initiative.

For inspiration, check out these charity team building ideas for work.


Rebuilding team morale and motivating employees after layoffs can be a challenging task. However, organizations must address the situation head-on and take proactive steps to support their workforce. The support could include being transparent and open about the reasons for the layoffs and offering guidance and resources to your team. Organizations should also focus on creating opportunities that will rebuild a sense of community and camaraderie. By taking these steps, leaders can help their team move forward and regain their motivation and enthusiasm for their work.

We also have a list of trust-building activities and exercises for work teams and ways to improve team cooperation in the workplace.

For more ideas, check out these fun communication games for teams, relationship-building activities, games, and ideas, and examples of workplace traditions.

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FAQ: How to rebuild team morale after layoffs

Here are answers to common questions on how to rebuild team morale after layoffs

How can you rebuild team morale after layoffs?

A layoff can demoralize the remaining workers. One tip that can help rebuild team morale is openly communicating with team members about the reasons for the layoffs. You can then reassure the employees that the company is moving forward positively. Also, providing laid-off workers support can help maintain a sense of unity and team spirit. Companies can also focus on team building activities to boost morale and motivate remaining team members.

How to best support remaining employees after a layoff?

Creating a positive and supportive work environment can help organizations to improve workers’ morale and boost productivity. Some good ways to support remaining employees after a layoff include developing workers’ skills, creating a support network, and implementing employees’ feedback.

How do you bring teams together after downsizing?

After downsizing, businesses must take steps that will foster team spirit. A great way to bring teams together is by addressing any concerns or fears that workers may have about the operational changes. Then, focus on team-building activities that will help to rebuild a sense of camaraderie and collaboration within the team.

Why is team building important after layoffs?

Layoffs can be disruptive and unsettling. Your remaining workers may be feeling uncertain about their job security. Through team building activities, workers rebuild morale and foster a sense of unity. These activities can also create a positive and supportive work environment that will motivate and engage remaining employees. After layoffs, some good team-building ideas include company-wide contests, charity work, and blindfold activities.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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