The blog suggested:
- Keep people informed about the whys of the decision.
- Conduct small groups oriented toward future.
- Listen and address concerns.
- Be empathetic.
- “Tell your workers why they made the cut by recognizing the strengths they bring to the team.”
- “Be courteous and gracious.”
The blog noted, “no matter how they appear on the outside, chances are your employees will be torn on the inside.”
1. Any significant organizational change, including downsizing, will cause bereavement in many employees. Bereavement simply means a person is deprived of something. Usually we think of that as grieving but it could also be joyful. I am reminded of a woman who tragically lost her husband but showed no remorse. Her reaction: “Now I don’t have to divorce the horse’s rear end.” Some people will be pro-change and expect to benefit.
2. But for many, the sense of loss will initiate Kübler-Ross’s classic stages of grieve: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. The process may be short or very long depending on the person and the situation. Leaders should understand this is not business as usual. Human relations should be part of the planning and mental services may be considered. Son’s blog acknowledges that employees may be “torn on the inside.”
4. I agree with the list above except for #5. The employees may know that some of the best workers were fired. Employees know best who contributes and who doesn’t. Many factors besides individual skill sets and productivity can contribute to layoff decisions.
5. Job satisfaction and high employee engagement are desirable goals. Management can affect some factors affecting these but ultimately happiness comes from within the individual; it's not externally created. Empathy, active listening, and acting on concerns are all important. Where possible, try not to think of people as costs. Think of them as assets. Hire well, invest in people, and reward – one formula for success.
Image, "Don't grieve. anything you Lose Come Round in Another Form" by Marcela.
Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcelamcgreal/18338078549
Used with permission: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
© John Ballard, PhD, 2016. All rights reserved.
Author of Decoding the Workplace, BEST CAREER BOOK Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
"Decoding the Workplace: 50 Keys to Understanding People in Organizations is as informed and informative a read as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. . . Decoding the Workplace should be considered critically important reading for anyone working in a corporate environment." —Midwest Book Review