How to communicate with furloughed or laid off employees

The Watering Bowl, an award-winning cage-free doggy daycare in St. Louis, Missouri, furloughed all but six of their staff members. However, General Manager Stacy Summers said they are still working hard to support employees impacted by the changes during the furlough period through fundraisers, pet food donations, and open lines of communication.

We asked Stacy to give some insight on how she communicates with furloughed and laid off employees, and how it not only helps her and her team prepare to reopen, but also keeps their morale boosted and community strong. 

Using Homebase to communicate with furloughed and laid off employees

As businesses start to look ahead to rehiring employees, it’s important to know whether those furloughed or laid off employees are planning on returning. Have they found another job? Are they planning on looking for other opportunities? Communication is key to creating a solid “back to business” strategy. 

watering bowl

The first thing The Watering Bowl will do is bring on a “skeleton crew.” The planned crew includes managers, crucial staff, and any employees who did not receive unemployment. 

Understanding employee intent

She said she’s confident that most of her team will be willing to return. She knows this because she’s been consistently communicating with them using the messaging app feature in Homebase.

“I expect about 97% of our employees to come back,” Stacy said. “I know that one has found another job but she intends to come back as soon as we reopen. Only four other employees have found different jobs that they intend on keeping.”

Words of encouragement to laid off employees

However, communication goes much further than simply having a plan. The easy-to-use features on the app meant that Stacy could transfer the employees that she previously assigned to one of their four locations on the app to one location. This way everyone can offer words of encouragement to each other. 

“I am using Homebase a lot to keep in contact with employees, and they are using Homebase to keep in contact with each other,” she said. “I turned it on to one location so that everybody in the company can talk to each other, and it’s been so great for morale.”

Stacy added that sending Homebase messages is more effective than other traditional forms of communication. 

“Obviously I have everybody’s emails through Homebase so I do send emails, but I also send Homebase messages as well. A lot of people don’t get emails, but get their Homebase messages,” she said. 

Best ways to use the Homebase messaging app 

The Homebase messaging app is free and easy to use. The instant messages become visible in real time in the Homebase mobile app via mobile notifications, email, and even text. 

homebase messaging app

There are ways you can use the app to reach out to laid-off employees, just like Stacy. 

One option is to message individual employees to check in on them personally. The employee will see how much you care about them if you try to keep them connected. 

Then, you can address the team as a whole with updates, new policies and operations, and your reopening strategy. Your employees will value the fact that you are including them.

As proven by Stacy’s team, you’ll also have a better pulse on who’s planning on returning and who is not.

Remember: you’re not the only one who can use the app to send messages. Encourage employees to stay in contact with one another, even when they’re not working together. Doing so will help preserve the community you built, and will help boost morale.

A few more reasons to use Homebase messaging 

As Stacy said, communicating with one tool is a much more efficient way to keep everyone on the same page. 

You can also communicate smarter with Homebase. You have the option to set up groups, post pictures, get read-receipts, and send your location. Your messages are also organized in a Manager Log, where you can track information and put events and notes right on the schedule.

Don’t wait to reach out to your furloughed or laid off employees, get started with real-time updates and open lines of communication today by signing up for Homebase or taking advantage of our great messaging feature if you’re already using our app. 

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