July 24, 2024

How CIOs can reengage after layoffs to support recovery

7 min read


Stock image depicting layoffs.
Image: Andrii Yalanskyi/Adobe Inventory

In recent months, layoffs have impacted thousands of employees throughout the tech field. News of layoffs has produced a wave of dread, uncertainty and mistrust amongst the tech workforce — definitely between all those who have been immediately afflicted but also among staff who have been remaining powering.

In periods of financial turmoil, chief information officers may perhaps confront the arduous endeavor of downsizing their teams. Layoffs involve cautious arranging, implementation and transitioning, but beneath strain for success, lots of C-stage executives undervalue the put up-layoff human factor.

SEE: Tech marketplace: Task gains, layoffs and Microsoft CEO’s problems (TechRepublic)

They aim on driving enterprise as common and shell out too minimal time working with the psychological toll on their firm, anticipating employees to settle for the scenario and move on. Inevitably, this sales opportunities to drops in efficiency, engagement and expertise retention.

For rapid and efficient recovery from layoffs, CIOs must tackle psychological signs or symptoms and unresolved conflicts although supporting the business’s monetary restoration. When going through layoffs, CIOs should really program their reaction and restoration all over 3 vital actions.

Move 1: Assess your state of mind

Downsizing has an effect on all those associated, creating thoughts of guilt, anxiousness, cynicism, disorientation, emotional numbness, unhappiness or withdrawal this features the CIO. Emotionally drained the day right after the layoff, they are envisioned to deal with their groups and make sure substantial crew overall performance.

Numerous CIOs convey a tranquil and collected picture, when in actuality their feelings need processing. Unresolved emotional trauma can block people’s ability to interact, to create and — as is critical for a CIO — to lead.

When leaders bottle up their feelings, they are much more most likely to snap at colleagues, overwork teams and burn up out. If CIOs want to direct an efficient recovery, they require to expend time evaluating and resetting their possess state of thoughts.

CIOs need to contemplate turning to support networks who can present emotional aid and functional guidance. With house to unpack and process worry safely, the CIO can achieve point of view and reduce emotional distress.

As the recovery system begins, several CIOs will aim all of their electrical power on accomplishing the sought after organization effects and go away tiny vitality for themselves. When leaders shed contact with them selves, they drop stamina and stop playing to their strengths. They forget about why they are foremost, and everybody loses.

In advance of initiating this arduous journey to recovery, CIOs must reconnect with their leadership part. Immediately after CIOs have a lot more clarity about their job in this new context, they can commence preparing the initial interventions.

Phase 2: Plan the first interventions to recovery

The CIO should determine an over-all course just before reengaging with the surviving crew. Helpful recovery will come from leaders who know how to “PLAN” — what to prioritize, how to leverage influencers and anticipate resistance, and how to nurture realism.

Prioritize motion

Downsizing is not only about the elimination of positions or positions it also impacts how a company does small business. CIOs should prioritize steps by mapping the main functions performed by each and every staff to their small business relevance and their implementation problem. This will assistance CIOs discover fast wins with lower implementation issue, prime priorities with superior company relevance and so on.

CIOs really should present over-all priorities and give colleagues space to share opinions. By listening to the team, CIOs present regard for their posture and practical experience and enable empower the group. They ought to request team members to determine prospective capacity gaps for every vital change, such as obtain to information and facts, teaching, corporate governance and so on.

Without the right abilities, advertising an optimistic long term will only frustrate the team further. The CIO need to target the team’s strength on planning pragmatic options and mitigations to the main obstructions. Fostering this co-development of the upcoming will make it possible for team associates to feel more in control of their destinies and minimize stress.

Leverage influencers and anticipate resistance

CIOs need to have an understanding of who can make or split the restoration process. Upcoming to every single substantial alter, CIOs need to checklist possible influencers and resistors as nicely as strategy on how to leverage or mitigate them. With this record at hand, CIOs will be able to prioritize a person-on-one periods with unique stakeholders.

Nurture realism

CIOs want to continue to keep by themselves grounded. This indicates recognizing that whilst they may not fully agree on “how” or “what” corporate decisions had been created, they will have to own the corporate position. If they do not, psychological turmoil will cloud their judgments.

Once on board with the company tale, CIOs need to possess the really hard information and engage with other C-amount executives to develop a restoration program. And lastly, they need to have to recognize that the transformation is only at its beginning. There is no certainty in the potential, so they should be geared up to not have solutions to everything. Do not make guarantees that are unable to be stored.

Move 3: Rebuild the foundation of have faith in

And now comes the most difficult element: the CIO requirements to tackle the breach of have faith in in the firm. Initiate a dialogue with the workforce wherever both equally get-togethers have house to share facts, starting up no afterwards than 15 times just after downsizing. Both equally virtual and face-to-encounter meetings can build an inclusive conversation system where by all are respected and listened to.

In this stage, it is important to nurture a sense of realism. CIOs need to give workers the appropriate information in alignment with the company story and be truthful about what they know and never know. Most importantly, they should really listen. Two alternatives for conducting two-way discussions are “ask me anything” community forums and “quality time” with leaders.

Check with-me-anything at all events

At talk to-me-just about anything activities, the CIO responds to stay thoughts submitted by members these may possibly be submitted anonymously. This kind of activities have been tested to be an successful way to have interaction huge teams. Struggling with queries from the very hot seat is difficult, but it will allow the CIO to measure the team’s pulse and diagnose crucial concerns early, and it aids to humanize CIOs as leaders. In willingly having the warm seat, CIOs show a real fascination in listening to what their groups have to say.

High quality-time activities

A quality-time event is typically a one-hour, just one-on-a person session intended to initiate a discussion with a immediate report or critical stakeholder. Both people carry a crucial subject that they would like to examine. The CIO ought to use these classes to hear actively, advertise involvement and really encourage an emotional reaction. Quality time allows CIOs to admit unique fears and emotions — an important preventive evaluate to decrease time put in handling problematic behaviors in the potential.

Acknowledging the organizational trauma and preparing the initially steps

Open up dialogues in situations of trauma can be emotionally draining, so teams will need a help network to help them process modify. For illustration, a wellness and wellness hotline or platform or mentoring courses can be valuable. CIOs really should also on a regular basis test on workforce and adapt their Plan based mostly on comments. This exhibits workforce that they are getting listened to.

The route toward restoration after intense layoffs does not stop here. It is a intricate and sinuous journey that, coupled with the uncertainties and emotional cost of the present-day socioeconomic climate, only reinforces the significance of the CIO’s role in acknowledging the existence of organizational trauma and organizing the very first interventions correctly. The first steps will established the all round tone for the transformation to come.


Gabriela Vogel headshot
Gabriela Vogel, senior director analyst with Gartner Executive Management

Gabriela Vogel is a senior director analyst at Gartner Government Leadership. Seasoned in foremost strategic organization transformation courses and dealing with adversity throughout different continents and industries, Vogel advises executives with a pragmatic vision on how to lead in situations of alter by balancing off the human variable in their conclusion-producing method. She supports executives by figuring out critical adversity and creating feasible techniques for tackling every of them.


Resource connection The news of the day is that posts have been cut, but for Chief Information Officers (CIOs), the challenge is to remain engaged and even to help lead the company’s recovery. In the aftermath of layoffs, it can be difficult for a CIO to keep morale up on the technology team and to remain sensitive to the condition of the other employees and business department affected.

Fortunately, there are a few steps CIOs can take to ensure the restoration of morale and productivity in the organization.

First, the CIO should create a comprehensive plan to ensure that the remaining staff can perform their duties without disruption. This includes engaging the most senior employees in any transition process, as well as providing training to new personnel and orientation for the staff. Moreover, the CIO should ensure that the organization’s technology systems are up to date and functioning properly for those remaining employees.

The next phase is to help create a new culture of efficiency and effectiveness in the technology department. CIOs should work with remaining staff to develop new processes and procedures that are tailored to the current workforce and involve team members in the planning process.

Finally, the CIO must be highly visible to show that the technology team is focused on helping the company recover. Leaders should be accessible and available to assist team members in any way possible. From conducting one-on-one meetings to implement new processes and procedures to holding regular team meetings, there are a variety of initiatives that can help the CIO remain engaged and show the workforce that the technology team is dedicated to helping the organization move forward.

At the end of the day, it’s important for CIOs to stay visible and be proactive in helping the organization through the difficult period of layoffs. By taking proactive steps to refresh processes and procedures and engaging remaining team members in the process, CIOs can help to create a culture of success and lead the technology team to be more prepared for recovery.