Supporting Employees Who Have Survived Redundancy

Sadly, many employers have found themselves in the position of having to make redundancies recently and more may find themselves needing to do so over the coming months. The focus at the time is usually centred on carrying out a fair redundancy process and it can be easy to overlook the effect surviving redundancy can have on those who remain in the organisation.

Whilst many employees will initially feel relief at still having a job, for some, this can give way to a range of negative emotions which can impact the organisation, this could be termed ‘redundancy survivors syndrome’. So, what are some of the things that employers may find it helpful to be aware of and what steps might employers wish to consider taking to support remaining employees and to try to minimise the impact on their organisation?

Impact on ‘redundancy survivors’

Following redundancies employees can feel a wide range of emotions, some may come out of the experience relatively unscathed but for others the impact may be greater. Some employees can feel anxious over the future, may experience illness if they have found the redundancy process stressful and can feel anger and sadness if they have seen colleagues and friends lose their jobs. This can lead to demotivation and a sense of disconnection at a time when the organisation really needs everyone to pull together. Aside from the impact such emotion can have on an employee’s wellbeing, if the situation is not addressed employers may start to see a decline in productivity.

What steps can we take?

To help prevent / combat some of these issues, employers may wish to:

  • Acknowledge that employees may be experiencing mixed or difficult emotions and that they can talk to managers about this. Encouraging employees to be open can help any concerns or issues to be brought to light at an early stage which can make them easier to appropriately address. If employees can see that there is support available and managers genuinely care, it can help to prevent them from feeling disconnected from the organisation and to appreciate that employees are valued but that as an employer a difficult decision had to be made regarding redundancies.
  • Make sure employees know what is expected of them going forward, employees can feel unsettled and having a clear remit, targets and goals and knowing what the organisation as a whole is working towards can help to focus and motivate employees by giving a clear sense of purpose and direction.
  • Remember that communication is important, when employees are worried about workplace matters a vicious cycle can develop whereby worries spread and rumours and disinformation can start – leading to more worries! Regular and appropriate communication from managers can help to prevent this from happening.
  • Realistically assess how much reassurance it is appropriate to give in the circumstances. Understandably, employees may be concerned about the future and worried that their job is not safe and they might be ‘the next to go’. Whilst you may wish to provide reassurance that no further redundancies or other steps will be required, this shouldn’t be done unless this is definitely the case. This can be difficult for many employers to say with any certainty at the moment. With this in mind, you should contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd to discuss how to handle the situation if an employee in your organisation requests such reassurance.
  • Think about ‘quick wins’ that can help to boost morale, make employees feel appreciated and generally create a positive working environment. A ‘thank you’ or praise for a job well done can all help. If employees are working remotely, it could be a good opportunity to give them a quick call / start chat over a video-conferencing platform to help keep in touch.

If you have any employment law matters you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.

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