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Healthcare organizations nationwide have been forced to make many hard choices in the post-pandemic environment – including, and especially, workforce reductions.

You’ve made the announcement. What now?

It’s announcement day: Scripts have been written. Zoom meetings have been organized. Severance packages are being delivered. Headlines are coming.

It’s the day after announcement day: With mixed emotions and fewer faces around, teams are back to work. What are you telling them? Are your leaders prepared to shepherd the remaining staff through this critical moment? If not, here are some initial considerations:

  • Meet the Moment: You’re a healthcare organization – you are always “on.” And while the business of your mission must continue unphased, how you present yourself must not. Recognize what’s happened, the conflicted emotions, the lingering uncertainty. And call attention to what’s not changing: who you are, and why you serve.
  • Watch Your Tone: Don’t return to “business as usual” too quickly. It’s not. Acting like it is will only deepen the perceived divide between “decision-makers” and “doers.”
  • Stay Present: Show up for your teams. Explain how leadership got to these decisions, and what the future is designed to look like. If the RIF was truly a one-and-done, reassure your teams so they feel secure, empowered and involved in what comes next.
  • Keep An Eye Externally: Take inventory of your activities. Do you know what social, digital and traditional media and recruitment campaigns you’re running in the days and weeks following the announcement? Job fairs your teams are hosting? Fundraisers or high-profile (read: expensive) sponsorships you’re running? If not, you should.
  • Create Momentum: Workforce reductions can bring your teams to a screeching halt. Find ways – through quick wins, team recognitions, mission-focused service and opportunities to involve teams in shaping your shared future – to restart that momentum and continue to achieve your goals.

Your organization has just gone through a “before” and “after” moment. Are you prepared to shepherd them through the “after” – keeping them engaged, creating excellent experiences for those who stay and those who serve, and fostering environments that your teams want to stay in, thrive in and advocate for? If not, let’s talk.

Author: Courtney Kelsey
Image Credit: Drew Do

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