Open up
This is the essential starting point. The question on every mind is, Am I next? "The greatest failure of companies has been the lack of information," says Trey Graham, a Texas-based leadership expert. "Fear of the unknown haunts em-ployees, so employers should comfort their workers by keeping them updated." Management may not fully know the future, but smart executives tell employees all they can to lower anxieties and get workers refocused on the tough rebuilding ahead. "Acknowledging and discussing workplace changes will go a long way toward preventing productiv-ity paralysis," says Kaylor. "A little empathy never hurts."

Reorganize with empathy
Do not heap "additional and unreasonable responsibilities on the remaining employees in a thoughtless way," advises Massachusetts career coach Gail McMeekin. That happens - lots - as managers try to parcel out all jobs among a thinner staff. "I've had clients say their bosses told them, 'You're lucky to have a job, so you have to do what-ever we tell you,'" relates McMeekin. That is a sure way to push the best employees out the door. Won't some jobs go undone by a leaner workforce? You bet, so managers will have to be savvy about identifying tasks that can be delayed or ignored.

Recognize survivor guilt
In some cases, the survivors will believe more capable people were let go, and in other cases, they simply lost friends. Either way, the survivors need time for grieving. Acknowledge their losses, let them express their sorrow, and give them the space to vent. When management moves out of their way, they will prob-ably get over this quickly - so encourage employees to express their emotions.

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