Survivors syndrome is what employees can experience following a redundancy situation and this can have a huge impact on your business.
I expect that this is the type of topic which will encourage remarks such as “well, they should be happy they have a job”, from some business owners. I do empathise with that in such stressful times for business owners. However, taking such a simplistic view could do harm to your business moving forward.
Many businesses are experiencing the unfortunate need to make redundancies due to the impacts of Covid-19 and this can be very unsettling for the staff that are left behind when others have gone.
How does this impact on employees?
- Sense of loss from losing close colleagues
- Feeling guilty they have kept their job while their colleagues have lost theirs
- Losing trust in Management
- Feeling insecure that further rounds of redundancy will happen
What is the impact on the business?
Employees can become disengaged and this can result in reduced motivation and morale, decreased productivity and increased absenteeism and higher turnover.
How do you avoid disengagement after a redundancy process?
Communication is key during a redundancy process not just for those who are being made redundant but for staff who will be left behind.
Not many people will have heard of survivors syndrome and employees could be confused as to why they are feeling the way they do after losing some of the workforce. By explaining the effects of survivors syndrome, this will help employees to understand and work with you to control these triggers.
There is most likely to be a loss of trust following a redundancy process, so keeping employees updated on the future business strategy will aid towards any anxieties around security in their post.
There will ultimately be some staff more effected by survivors syndrome than others and some may need more support than others so consider any internal/external support which may help e.g. mentors within the organisation or providing links to free counselling and make sure as a Manager, you are also seen to be being supportive, showing empathy, allowing employees to be open and honest.