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The pandemic outbreak, along with the halt in business continuity, has also brought in a drastic rise in unexpected layoffs where companies, even from the analytics industry, are letting their employees go, in order to keep their finances stable. Many analytics companies, such as DataRobot, Mixpanel, Kabbage have made headlines by laying off their employees or shutting off their operations amid this crisis. Alongside, tech giants like IBM as well as Uber have also announced firing a significant number of their analytics employees in their organisation due to this crisis. In fact, according to a report, in India, this pandemic has caused 1.5 lakh IT professionals, including the ones working with analytics, to lose their jobs.
These numbers show that layoffs are inevitable during this crisis, and companies should indeed be sympathetic to the ones that have been the victim of this crisis termination. However, it is also critical for analytics companies to focus on the employees that have survived the downsizing of the company. A mass layoff can create unrest in the organisation and can, in turn, hamper productivity as well as the motivation to work in the remaining employees. Alongside, a mass layoff can reduce the employee trust on the organisation, and its leaders which is again essential for businesses to work productively amid this crisis.
A study has revealed that approximately 74% of the employees that have survived the mass layoff amid COVID-19 would witness a massive decline in their work productivity, which, in turn, can deteriorate the company’s product and service lines. Therefore, it has become imperative for analytics companies to change their strategies to enhance their remaining employees’ engagement. Here are a few ways, analytics companies can encourage their surviving employees after a massive layoff:
Over-communicate with your remaining employees
Once an organisation goes through a massive layoff, it brings in the necessity for business leaders to address the needs of the remaining employees in order to bring in enhanced productivity with reduced staff. This would also include communicating consistently with the surviving employees to reassure them about the crisis, as well as sharing the company status with them in a transparent manner. Alongside, it would be crucial for analytics companies to build an effective communication plan that would schedule regular meetings with the employees to know their work status as well as their requirements.
Experts believe that the majority surviving employees undergo significant stress as well as a guilt of being the remaining ones in the organisation, and therefore regular communication between leaders and their employees can reduce their anxiety related to the layoff. With remote working in place, analytics companies have started relying on collaboration tools like MS Teams and Zoom to conduct meetings and discussions with their team members in order to create a two-way communication. So, effective communication will not only reduce the layoff stress among remaining employees but also bring in the productivity that might have been lost amid this lockdown.
Encourage employees with upskilling
Apart from consistent communication, analytics companies should also provide employee resilience to the remaining ones who have survived the layoff. For this, business leaders should encourage their employees to upskill/reskill themselves in order to keep up their relevance amid COVID-19. This pandemic has brought in an automation boom, which in turn has made many of skills outdated for businesses, and therefore the analytics companies must urge their employees to continuously upskill themselves with relevant skill sets which will not only provide them with enough resilience against this economic downturn but will also keep them ahead of their competitors.
Analytics companies should create a learning ecosystem for their employees, including investing in online training courses, offering certificates, providing mobile learning as well as offering one-on-one mentorship, which will also help them to enhance their career graph. In fact, according to reports, in order to survive this tough job market, 64% of IT professionals have already considered upskilling amid this pandemic. Joining the efforts are the ed-tech companies that have started providing many promising industry-ready courses for analytics professionals to get hands-on. Along with that, analytics companies can also offer career development programs for their surviving employees which will enhance their trust in the company. Post the layoffs, the remaining employees become a critical asset for companies, and therefore business leaders must take necessary steps to ensure their job satisfaction.
Provide necessary resources to seamlessly WFH
With a massive layoff, organisations are usually left with reduced staff to take on added responsibilities. Therefore, it is critical for business leaders to provide them with the necessary tools and resources to carry out their work remotely. For analytics professionals, businesses need to provide them access to tools, platforms as well as essential data to make their work process smooth despite working from home. In fact, research done by Analytics India Magazine has noted that the majority of analytics professionals have little to no impact on their work because of working from home. However, lack or difficulty in remote accessing several data points turned out to be a bit of a challenge for them. Therefore, business leaders must address this need and provide them access to the required tools and platforms in order to execute their daily work.
Apart from providing necessary resources, it is also crucial for analytics companies to change their mindset in order to adapt to the new normal. Majority of the experienced professionals are used to working with multiple teams for their data work and are usually resistant to change. For that, business leaders need to acknowledge the change and make their employees understand the new normal. With employees working in silos, it gets difficult to create efficient workflows. Leaders can involve their employees in the core business decision and ask team leads to enhance their work processes for their teams.
More involvement of employees in the core business
Another way, analytics companies can encourage their remaining employees after a layoff is by involving them in the core business process and make them feel important for the company. It is essential for business leaders to make their retaining employees understand their value and the reason they have survived the layoff. Involving them in core business decisions or allowing them to make necessary changes in a particular decision would make them feel valued and would also reinforce their trust in the organisation.
In today’s competitive tech landscape, change is constant, and therefore business leaders must quickly adapt to the transition. Involving every employee in the organisation’s business process can help make this transition smooth. Also, continuous feedback of employees’ work progress can help them feel secure about their jobs as well as their future amid this crisis. Employee feedback would also set a clear expectation which would help them realign their goals accordingly.
Analytics companies should also convey how their employees are contributing to their business and how it can be enhanced for the betterment of the company. To make them understand their full potential, analytics companies can also arrange cross-training sessions among departments that will help core IT, and analytics professionals understand the other aspects of the business, and the non-IT folks can understand how data works for their organisation. Not only such initiatives will enhance the potential of the remaining staff but will also make the business sustainable amid this crisis.
Build relevant projects for better employee motivation
Another strategy that can help analytics companies to encourage their remaining employees after a massive layoff in the organisation is to create and work on projects that can actually bring in value to the society amid this crisis. This pandemic has already lowered down the motivation of the majority of the tech employees. However, with companies building projects relevant to the society will keep their employees motivated to work more towards it, as a moral obligation. Employees always try to set a connection between their work and the value it is bringing to the society. Therefore, during this global pandemic, analytics companies can work on innovations that can help the society, which in turn will make the employees work more significantly in the current world.
Also, by providing challenging assignments to employees with necessary guidance would make them more conscious about the work, which, in turn, would enhance their commitment towards the organisation. With lockdown in place, the majority of companies are working towards improving their customer experience in order to keep up their business continuity. In fact, Analytics India Magazine research has stated that the highest number of employees — 10.5% — are working on customer engagement related analytics, with second-highest proportion — 9.5% — are working on customer relationship management related projects, which are critical for companies amid this crisis.
Alongside, with reduced staff, organisations also need to find creative ways to carry out consolidated work to reduce the burden on surviving employees. In such cases, analytics companies must prioritise their projects, collaborate effectively, automate necessary processes and find solutions to emerging challenges in order to help their employees.
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Sejuti currently works as Senior Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org