When businesses are faced with uncertainty that comes from macroeconomic factors or financial concerns, they are quick to put a pause on hiring efforts. This phenomenon is known as a hiring freeze.
Hiring freezes are daunting. While a hiring freeze is different than a layoff, they can still be a cause of concern for your employees and can stir up doubts about their future with your company.
As a leader, it’s important to lead with empathy through stressful and uncertain times. In this blog, we’re sharing our top 3 tips to help you support your team through a hiring freeze while keeping empathy at the forefront of your actions.
What is a Hiring Freeze?
Simply put, a hiring freeze is a temporarily pause on all non-essential hiring efforts as an alternative to making employee layoffs. Hiring freezes are typically implemented to reduce unnecessary spending, to protect employees from the effects of macroeconomic trends, or a combination of both!
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hiring Freeze?
While hiring freezes can induce some stress for your team, they also have many benefits to your business when implemented correctly. Here’s a brief breakdown:
- Stabilizes your organization’s financial position. By removing the need to hire new talent, your business will save time and money. This will leave you in a more stable financial position. (Which is especially important in an economic downturn!)
- Provides an opportunity to take a step back and plan for the future. A temporary pause on hiring allows you to re-strategize and optimize your workforce for the future based on macroeconomic trends. (If you’re feeling stuck, our free Workforce Assessment Guide can help with this!)
- Opportunities for internal growth. With a hiring freeze, your team will have to divide and conquer to complete tasks and projects that would normally require an external hire. This is a great opportunity for upskilling your team’s skillsets! Learning new skills and advancing others will allow for them to make a greater impact and grow within their roles.
- Increased chances of burnout. With extra responsibilities on their plates to compensate for a lack of additional team members, your team might be at risk for increased chances of burnout.
- Higher levels of fear. Increased fear and anxiety levels due to the uncertainty of your business’ future can lead to higher turnover rates, decreased engagement, and lower morale.
3 Tips for Supporting Your Team Through a Hiring Freeze
The good news? The potential disadvantages that come with implementing a hiring freeze can be reduced and even avoided altogether. Here are 3 tips that you can use to support your team and diminish those negative impacts:
- Communicate transparently and regularly. One of the best things you can do to support your team during a hiring freeze is keeping them in the loop as much as appropriate with regards to your company’s decisions. Be sure to communicate why your company is implementing a hiring freeze, how it impacts your employees and your business goals, and the expected length of the freeze. Providing your team with regular updates will increase their trust in you and help reduce fear and uncertainty levels.
- Make time for conversation, questions, and checking in with your team. Your team will be confused and worried – this is normal. As a result, it’s important for you as a leader to make time and space for conversation, listen with empathy, and answer questions as they arise. Additionally, keep tabs on your team’s mental health by checking in with them and promoting a healthy work-life balance. This will help ease any negative emotions and will let your team know that you’re invested in their wellbeing.
- Give your team meaningful work that will boost engagement levels. When you assign meaningful and high-impact projects, it gives your team a solid understanding of how they can directly contribute to your company’s mission, purpose, and strategic objectives. This will make the world of a difference in improving your team’s morale!
Other useful resources:
- Prevent Quiet Quitting with these 5 Tips
- 5 Ways to Support Your Team’s Mental Health
- Economic Downturn Employer Layoff Guide
Need some extra support, not sure what to do next, or just need an ear? Book some time with our HR team today – we’re here to help!