Team and organizations development

Bouncing Back from Layoffs: The R.E.B.O.U.N.D. Strategy for Tech Companies


During the 2008 financial crisis, I witnessed firsthand how financial institutions struggled to recover after massive layoffs. As a consultant, I see similar challenges in the tech industry, where layoffs are once again becoming a concerning trend. But what distinguishes those who bounce back from those who don't?
The answer is not just "resilience." It's the ability to strategically R.E.B.O.U.N.D. from adversity. In this article, we'll explore the R.E.B.O.U.N.D. framework, using real-life examples from the tech industry to illustrate its effectiveness.
R.E.B.O.U.N.D. stands for the following actions:
  • Reassess Organizational Goals
  • Empathize with Employees
  • Build Trust and Support
  • Open Dialogue
  • Unify the Team
  • Nurture Growth and Development
  • Develop Future Strategies
By implementing this framework, leaders can foster organizational resilience and ensure their company not only survives but thrives in the aftermath of layoffs.

I. Reassess Organizational Goals

The R.E.B.O.U.N.D. framework begins with reassessing organizational goals. Layoffs may have shifted the company's overall strategic course, necessitating a reevaluation of objectives and priorities. Leaders must seize this opportunity to reshape their organization's mission and vision, aligning them with the new realities of the post-layoff landscape.
For instance, in 2018 after a significant round of layoffs due to an economic downturn, a major tech company I worked with reassessed its goals and shifted its focus from hardware to software development. It was a difficult decision, and it took another two years to gain leadership in the retail tech sector. This process included nine months of leadership and team coaching for the executive team.
Actionable Tip: Involve key stakeholders, including employees, partners, and strategic vendors in the goal-setting process to ensure buy-in and a shared understanding of the new direction.

II. Empathize with Employees

In periods of ambiguity and change, empathy is a vital leadership attribute. Leaders should acknowledge the emotional toll of layoffs on employees and strive to grasp their anxieties and fears. By nurturing an atmosphere of empathy and backing, leaders can help employees feel appreciated and listened to, easing their transition through the post-layoff phase.
Actionable Tip: Implement regular check-ins or pulse surveys to monitor employee morale and well-being, allowing leaders to address any issues that arise and demonstrate ongoing empathy and support for their team.

III. Build Trust and Support

Trust and support form the bedrock of a robust and resilient organization. Following layoffs, leaders must diligently work to restore trust among employees by being candid about the reasons for the layoffs and the measures being implemented to secure the company's future success. Transparent communication and a conspicuous dedication to employee well-being will contribute to a supportive and inclusive work setting.
A successful example from the tech industry occurred in 2012 when a CEO of a telecom startup held a series of roundtables with employees, describing the company's vision and seeking their feedback on the best strategies to achieve it. Customer success teams were actively involved in these conversations, as they needed to build trusted relationships with customers.
Actionable Tip: Involve employees in the decision-making process, when appropriate, to demonstrate that their input is valued and that the organization is committed to working together to overcome challenges.

IV. Open Dialogue

Encouraging open dialogue is yet another crucial aspect of the R.E.B.O.U.N.D. framework. Leaders ought to create opportunities for employees to express their thoughts, worries, and ideas, and actively listen to their input. This free exchange of information not only fosters trust and transparency but also pinpoints areas for enhancement and innovation.
Actionable Tip: Establish regular "state of the company" updates where leaders share transparent information about the organization's performance, progress, and goals, as well as any upcoming changes or challenges, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

V. Unify the Team

Recovering after layoffs demands a solid, cohesive team united by a common purpose and direction. Leaders have to work towards bringing employees together and reinforcing the organization's shared objectives and values. Team-building exercises, town hall gatherings, and routine check-ins can aid in cultivating unity and dedication among employees.
Actionable Tip: Create cross-functional teams or working groups to facilitate open dialogue among employees from different departments, fostering a collaborative approach to problem-solving and innovation.

VI. Nurture Growth and Development

Organizational resilience is built on a foundation of ongoing growth and development. Leaders must invest in employee development, offering opportunities for skill enhancement, professional growth, and career progression. By empowering employees and supporting their professional aspirations, leaders can establish a more adept, driven, and engaged workforce.
For example, in 2010, one of the companies I worked with implemented a mentorship program and offered in-house training opportunities to help employees upskill and grow professionally after a round of layoffs. While training budgets were limited, we managed to create programs led by internal experts.
Actionable Tip: Establish an internal knowledge-sharing platform or community where employees can share their expertise, learn from others, and collaborate on projects or challenges, promoting continuous learning and development.

VII. Develop Future Strategies

The concluding component of the R.E.B.O.U.N.D. framework concentrates on strategizing for the future. Leaders must persistently evaluate the organization's progress and adapt their strategies to tackle emerging challenges and opportunities. This proactive approach guarantees that the organization is well-equipped to steer through future hurdles and preserve its competitive edge in the market.
Actionable Tip: Implement scenario planning exercises that help leaders and employees think through various potential future situations and develop appropriate responses and strategies.


The R.E.B.O.U.N.D. framework offers a strategic roadmap for tech companies navigating the aftermath of layoffs. By reassessing organizational goals, empathizing with employees, building trust and support, encouraging open dialogue, unifying the team, nurturing growth and development, and developing future strategies, tech leaders can guide their organizations through challenging times and emerge stronger and more resilient.
As we've seen through real-life examples in the tech industry, companies that successfully implement the R.E.B.O.U.N.D. framework are better positioned to bounce back after layoffs, ensuring long-term success and stability in an ever-evolving market.

Photo by Kate Branch on Unsplash