Recognition Lockdown? Can You Retain People You’ve Laid Off?

image of a black screen with the end written across and underlined retain people“We are closing as of X due to provincial orders. Do you want to be laid off?

That was all that was in the email to my son when he found out he was being laid off from his restaurant job a few weeks ago. And it’s been crickets ever since with zero further correspondence. They could have copied and pasted “THE END” like at the close of a black and white movie.

Guess what he did the next day? Started looking for another job. Sure, in part because he needs money. And, because there was no indication there was a future—kind of like a breakup.

However, is a layoff a breakup? Or a long-distance relationship?

Recommit with Recognition to Retain Your People

Even if you’re facing a lockdown dramatically impacting your industry, where you’re faced with laying off staff, shutting your doors temporarily, or dramatically changing the nature of your work, you can still recognize your people to retain them, so they come back!

Recognition is essential even if you need to exit staff during downturns, furloughs, and lockdowns. How you do it and what you do when you’re all in a holding pattern communicates how much they matter to you. They’ll make other plans that don’t include you if you don’t show you care and they’re still on your mind.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Send a text, “thanks for being patient in these zany times”
  • Send emails with a brief update
  • Create a FB group to keep people connected; post helpful videos, positive images, relevant quotes
  • Create a video of how grateful you are for people’s loyalty
  • Design a Canva of a “top 10” list of specific examples of teamwork at its best prior to lockdown
  • Call to check in on how they’re doing
  • Invite them to participate in virtual training programs
  • Extend the invite to take e-learning courses

image of a hand placing tiles to spell first choice to retain peopleIt’s in the tough times that loyalty is demonstrated: yours to them and theirs to you. Remind them why they chose you in the first place, and don’t give them a reason to question it.

Humanity doesn’t take a holiday when we’re not altogether; in fact, we need to be more intentional about building it. Out of sight need not be out of mind. Stay top of mind and full of heart. These small yet impactful intentional acts have an even greater impact on people when there aren’t other work interactions at play. Your actions ARE the story.

Be the employer, boss, colleague, and “workmunity” (work community) that people long for. And do this through random acts of recognition.

Here are more great resources to help you retain people by creating recognition:

PS. Want to create a Recognition Habit that works to make your team feel appreciated?  Learn how easy it can be in these 15-minute practical lessons in our micro-learning course.

course thumbnail for e-learning course titled The Recognition Habit by greatness magnified

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve