How to Support ‘Survivor Employees’ After A Round of Redundancy

Here’s how to support the survivors within a business during and after the redundancy to ensure that everyone is equipped to emotionally and psychologically process what’s happening.

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It is widely accepted that our working lives play a considerable role in our sense of belonging and purpose, but our work also helps to add structure to our day-to-day lives too. It offers us an opportunity to be creative and manage responsibility, which enhances emotional wellbeing and happiness.

Unfortunately, a year like 2020 can quickly destabilise these feelings, particularly when redundancies are added into the mix. HR and higher management are often tasked with the difficult assignment of making redundancies in line with legislation; however, there just isn’t much advice available on how to deal with the emotional aspect of such as tough job.

Generally, redundancies will impact three groups of people within your organisation:

  • Those who are being made redundant.
  • The “survivors”.
  • Those tasked with having the difficult conversations.

This article aims to provide advice on how to support the survivors within a business during and after the redundancy process – this should help to ensure that everyone is better equipped to emotionally and psychologically process what’s happening.

Lay Out a Clear Communication Plan

As many of you will know, when you hear second-hand news through the grapevine for the first time, there’s often inconsistencies and missing chunks of information. This can cause a great deal of stress, especially when people’s jobs are subject to rumour and hearsay.

By being transparent and communicating with your employees as to why this downsizing is crucial to the long-term survival of the organisation, at least you’re making people aware that this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction.

Within your communication plan, you must also include a concise and open process which determines how long you envision before these changes are made, who will stay, who will be leaving their roles and who will be offered voluntary redundancy.

That said, this won’t be an easy process, but at least by having a plan in which everyone within the organisation can refer to, no one is relying on misinformation and conjecture.

Continue Communicating After the Fact

A continual line of communication is crucial even after the redundancies have been made since, by this point, restructuring and responsibilities will be subject to change. It’s helpful to put out pulse surveys to ensure you’re keeping abreast of the general feeling amongst your employees.

By doing this, you can investigate any changes in score, which will act as an early warning that suggests you’re not communicating as effectively as you could be.

Expect & Allow Emotional Feedback

As a leading figure within your business, you need to be well prepared for an emotional response from those who are leaving their positions and those that remain.

It’s important to remember, first of all, these aren’t personal attack. But, you should always bear in mind that redundancy can be one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. And secondly, it might help to seek training for yourself and other senior figures to help you understand how to communicate non-verbally and read body language cues to ensure you’re open and not taking a defensive stance.

Even minute details can make a big difference to the way people react to the process. For example, if a manager feels tense and anxious before entering the room, this will undoubtedly translate across the table and create a feeling of unease.

It can also be useful to offer management the opportunity to talk through their experiences – particularly if those meetings are emotionally charged.

Remain Visible

Leadership figures must be sure to remain open and approachable and willing to answer the tough questions when they arise. This is a vital part of the process when you’re trying to rebuild morale and trust as you move into the future.

Keeping everyone up to date with the goings-on within the business and how you expect to move forward into a more positive realm, this will be of great help to you and your employees.

Takeaways

In conclusion, offering clear communication throughout the entirety of your redundancy plan is the most critical factor in ensuring a successful implementation. Giving your employees the chance to prepare emotionally and psychologically, and keeping them up to date with the latest goings-on, whether good news or bad and helping survivors see their value once again is crucial to transition to the next phase successfully.

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