Redundancies in a business may be traumatic experience for those being impacted by the decisions – however it can also disrupt and unsettle those either managing the process or the employees staying behind.

The emotional reaction that is associated with those employees that are not made redundant and keep their jobs within the business has become known as ‘Survivor Syndrome’.

Some of the typical reactions from survivors include feeling guilty for keeping their jobs, a feeling that the exercise might not be fair – for themselves or their colleagues that have been made redundant, this can mount up to a loss of trust in the business and their managers.

One key factor is that all of this can lead to a lack of motivation towards their work which, when they might be expected to cover the work of their departing colleagues, can then impact productivity and morale.

Below we have listed some examples of behaviours of surviving employees that you may recognise in your team;

  • Lower morale at work, or commitment to their job
  • Less loyalty or the business or to their line manager
  • You may notice lower productivity in the workplace and a dip in performance from previous well performing employees.
  • There may be increased stress levels in the workplace as surviving employees may feel that they will be ‘next’
  • Decision making may take longer than it did before, and different decisions may be reached
  • Due to lack of loyalty and commitment you may see an increased amount of absence from surviving employees

It is essential that you prepare for redundancies in the workplace as much as possible, not just to cover the redundancy process but to include the survivors of this process.

There are several steps we would recommend that you put into place to prevent survivor syndrome becoming an issue in your workplace when making employees redundant. These are as follows;

  • Be consistent with your communication so all employees get the same message
  • Be fair, objective and transparent with your redundancy process
  • Treat everyone with compassion and respect
  • Provide practical assistance and support to all surviving employees
  • Foster trust with your team by being as open and honest with employees as you can

If you know you have redundancies coming up in your business and you’re not sure how to handle them then why not contact our team. We can run through a plan of action for you, support you with the redundancy process, support your employees through the redundancy process or manage the whole redundancy process for you.