Nurture layoff survivors
Written by: Renée LeMoine
Photo by: V&V
"Our mother company is going
through a process of reorganization and downsizing. Most of the
employees in the Czech branch have survived the cuts, buy my staff
is still shaken from the experience.
Recent research shows that staff who survive layoffs suffer as
much, if not more, trauma than employees who are let go. Those
who are fired get a chance to start over fresh in a new job, while
the remaining staff must sort through the rubble of changes and
rebuild within the confines of a scared corporate culture. Therefore,
remaining employees will also feel anxiety, frustration, and loss.
As a manager, you need to nurture your staff back to health by
implementing procedures that will help set a new and more positive
- Make the cuts understandable and rapid. When cutting staff
is necessary, warn them in advance that changes are coming. Provide
them with sufficient information as to why, when, where, and
how it will happen. Keep your door open, be frank, honest, and
prepare to sooth out of control emotions. Be open with all the
staff at all times.
- Be empathetic while the surviving staff grieves. Survivors
must let their anger and repressed feelings go so that they can
move on. Take a leading role in organizing constructive sessions
where teams have the opportunity to release pent up opinions
and frustration, and to seek solutions for redirecting their
energies. Avoid overindulgence of bitterness by concentrating
on seeking solutions for bringing vibrant changes that staff
- Break employee's dependency on the organization. Today's
workplace should require employees to build transferable skills.
Encourage staff to start thinking about their long-term career,
including paying for their own training courses in addition to
those offered by the company. The more people are willing to
invest into themselves, the more independent and confident they
- Create new corporate procedures to eliminate dependency. Firms
should consider detaching themselves from such paternalistic
practices as seniority systems for promotions and rewards, loyalty
expectations, and long-term socialization processes designed
to shape people into "corporate types".
Article prepared by Renée LeMoine, Executive
Director, LeMoine & Associates
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