When making redundancies, employers try to do so with the minimum cost and disruption to their operations. They often ignore the fact that the people left behind are, arguably, more important than those leaving. Simon Rustom provides some advice on how to avoid ‘Survivor Syndrome’.The people who stay will continue to deal with customers – and so their employers need to ensure that these workers provide a high-quality service. Yet these people will be going through the same bereavement-like emotions as their less fortunate colleagues.
So here are ten tips for getting the best out of the employees who survive a round of redundancies:
1. Look after people left behind
In the current economic climate, redundancies are becoming commonplace – but those people remaining after these job cuts are just as important as those who leave. Ignore this at your peril.
2. Keep up morale
To keep up their morale and motivate them, you must give the survivors attention. Despite all the things you say, they will still feel they are next – so you must give them regular reassurance that they are safe.
3. Have a rigid selection process
When voluntary redundancy is offered, it is the best people in the organisation who have the confidence to move on and so they tend to leave first. So it is always important to have a rigid selection process that assesses the key skills that are needed going forward; rate everyone against this matrix; be open about the process, and don’t be tempted to compromise the process just to achieve the numbers.
4. Avoid Friday as a redundancy day
You can minimise the risk of de-motivating staff if you avoid announcing redundancies on a Friday, since it’s difficult to support staff – both those being made redundant and those who are not – over a weekend.
5. A senior executive should deliver the news
Don’t get a junior member of staff to deliver the news. It must come from a senior executive who is visible throughout the process.
6. Adopt an ‘ABC’ approach
When it comes to controlling the ‘organisational grapevine’, adopt an ‘ABC’ approach. You should:
- Always be available to discuss it
- Be quick to quash destructive rumours
- Communicate openly rather than ‘pull down the shutters’, making the issue a regular briefing item
7. Specialist advice and guidance
To achieve the best overall results from organisational change such as a redundancy programme, you should look for specialist advice and guidance.
8. Create a project team
Create a project team with representation from across all the organisation’s functions. This team will co-ordinate the whole procedure, determining the way in which the news is given to the workforce, by whom, where and when, and the support structures for those who are leaving and for those who will be remaining.
9. Plenty of support available
Make sure there’s plenty of support available after the ‘big day’ as well.
10. Expect productivity to drop
Expect productivity to drop – and account for it.
Simon Rustom is Managing Director at change and customer management specialists, CCL (www.customerconsulting.com).
They have a great deal of experience and expertise for companies who are about to make redundancies and who want to emerge as a stronger, more productive organisation.