Those remaining staff left behind after many colleagues have lost their positions during a company’s phase of restructure, can be flooded with their own collection of questions and emotions. Why them? Why not me? Am I next? Is it over? When will things go back to normal? Will I have to do more work now? The experience can produce a wide spectrum of emotions ranging from fear, anger, guilt, frustration and distrust, to relief and optimism.
Given the difficult nature of “cutting backing”, it would be easy to become complacent once the process of redundancies is complete. However, we cannot forget those that remain. A restructure involving redundancies is a time of uncertainty for many and if a company is to recover as quickly as possible from the changes implemented, the welfare and needs of continuing employees needs to be considered, as it is them that will rebuild and remould the company into the new vision that has been created.
Impact of changes and effects on employees in a post redundancy environment
- Anxiety and stress – This is common during periods of uncertainty, where events are out of their control.
- Lack of morale – Sustaining levels of confidence and self-esteem can be more difficult in this environment.
- Lack of commitment and focus – Fear of the situation can lead to a decrease in output and efficiency.
What to keep in mind during the restructure
- Maintain privacy and be discrete – Confidentiality is fundamental. Ensure exiting staff are treated with grace and dignity as employees will take note of the support given to them.
- Communication is key – There is nothing worse than feeling left in the dark. Be prepared for questions. Offer continued support to all.
- Continue communication and respect – Listen and acknowledge. Be honest. Regular communication is paramount to making the transition smoother in the long run. A meeting to explain what has happened and why, to answer questions and to share the plan moving forward is essential. As is maintaining an empathetic nature and an open door policy.
- Motivate – Remind them why they would want to stay and contribute to rebuilding company’s future.
- Provide leadership – Lead by example. Provide a consistent message. Act in the way you want your employees to.
All change takes time. Although the retrenchment period may take days or weeks, the process of mending and adjustment can take longer. Be patient. By continuing to communicate and provide support in what can be seen as uncommunicative, unsupportive time, you can ultimately strengthen the commitment of your employees.
Fleur Niesche-Trehan, Consultant