By Annette A. Dixon
Often those who remain in an organisation after their colleagues have been laid off experience feelings that can be compared to bereavement. This can have a huge impact on motivation, staff morale and stress levels, which in turn affects productivity and customer service.
Unless the change process is handled appropriately, reduced organisational effectiveness may result. Well planned and supported change processes will counter these consequences.
Staff that have kept their jobs often have feelings of resentment that they have to take on the workload of those who left. This can lead to an increase in stress levels. They also fear that if they fail to keep up with their increased workloads that they may be made redundant also.
Redundancies can lead to a loss of loyalty and trust in an organisation from remaining staff and leave them seeking the first opportunity to leave as they have lost faith in their bosses.
It is important for managers to ensure that staff who survive keep motivated as the company tries to move forward.
Some tips for doing this include –
- Give staff an opportunity to vent, this includes getting them to voice their hopes and fears for the future and acknowledge their worries. It helps to identify practical steps to help them achieve their goals. One of the most common complaints from staff in this situation is that they don’t feel they have been listened to.
- Keep the lines of communication open throughout the redundancy process. This should help to alleviate some of their fears and reduce workplace gossip.
- Train managers to look for signs of stress within their staff.
- Monitor absenteeism and take action promptly if needed.
- Retrain employees who will be taking on new roles.
- It is helpful if those who remain in their jobs see that the staff who were made redundant are looked after. Give staff an opportunity to say goodbye, let them know that you appreciate the people leaving and recognise their achievements.
- • Identify one person to act as a change agent to work with staff and other supervisors during the implementation period. Throughout the process it is important that senior management in the organisation are available and present to talk to staff.
- Staff reductions and restructure present a difficult task for all involved. It can be helpful to use symbols to mark key dates and successful transitions. For example, the creation of a change agent role mark the commencement of the process and the elimination of the same role would mark completion.