So you’ve had to make the difficult decision to make some of your employees’ roles redundant and have put a lot of time and effort into handling this as sensitively as possible. But did you know that up to a third of your workforce that still have jobs might be experiencing guilt about having a job when others have been let go?
This ‘survivor guilt’ has a far-reaching impact, affecting productivity, engagement, motivation and even the wellbeing of those left behind. You have already had to let people go, so you need your retained staff to be working at their best and, of vital importance, stay with your business. With your HR team already under pressure it’s unlikely you have the resources to recruit new employees, not to mention the costs incurred – and then there’s the challenge of how your employees feel when they see new hires joining after the business has recently let people go – and so the cycle continues.
So, how does outplacement help?
One of the things that can make the biggest difference to those experiencing this form of ‘survivor guilt’ is to know that those who were let go were treated in the best way possible. That means throughout the consultation process, making the time to answer and address questions, being as transparent as possible throughout the process – and then also giving those whose roles are made redundant the support from a career expert to move on quickly and confidently.
Often, the people that we work with are then able to see this as an opportunity to craft their career in a way that suits them, their lifestyle, their aspirations, and turn this point of transition into a real positive. Those still within your organisation see how those on the outside really are doing okay, and this helps reduce or eliminate the guilt they experienced, freeing them up to bring their best selves to work, to fully commit to the organisation, and to be productive in their roles. This all helps you achieve what you set out to do at the start of your restructure – continue to deliver results the business needs with a reduced headcount.
Restructures can also cause a lot of unrest amongst those left behind, prompting them to think about leaving when they might not have otherwise, with thoughts of ‘what if I’m next?’ or wanting to jump before they are pushed. Feeling in control is hugely important for the motivation and engagement of your teams which directly links to productivity and output. Seeing the effects of a restructure can make staff feel very unsure about just how in control they are of their situation – and therefore see them take action they may not have otherwise, to regain that control.
Knowing that, if the worst happens, they will be looked after by an outplacement provider and career coach – and opening up a positive conversation about consciously setting the direction of your career – helps take some of that uncertainty out of the situation. Instead of worrying about the impact to them, employees are freed up to rededicate themselves to their role and try to make the best of the situation.
Whilst looking after your leavers will have a tremendously positive effect on your retained staff, it’s also important to sensitively acknowledge that it’s not just those affected by lay-offs that are going through the emotions of change. Your ‘survivors’ are also going through a transition and will be going through the stages of change, and clearly signposting this is another great way of minimising unrest and boosting productivity. As a redundancy ‘survivor’ it can be difficult to reconcile the conflicting feelings and emotions around this change – gratitude for having a job, whilst still being affected by endings and saying goodbye to the way things were, or the colleagues and friends around them. Having an open conversation about this goes a long way to helping people come to terms with the ‘new’ world, or offering additional support to help your people thrive through the change is another worthwhile investment.
To find out more about how Connor can help and support you and your employees during times of change, call us on 01491 414 010 or email us at email@example.com.