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The long-term effects of downsizing

contractor30905267.jpgDownsizing is emotionally draining on everyone, especially managers. While it may be easy to pick out which employees you are going to lay off, dealing with the after-effects is going to be extremely challenging and sometimes frustrating. Most managers just focus on the immediate needs that happen when you go through the downsizing process and they don’t think of the long-term effects of downsizing.

When you lay off employees, job responsibilities will be shuffled around and your employees will learn how to assume new roles within the company. It can be extremely busy at first and emotionally draining on all of your employees and they try to figure out how to handle their new role.

There are 3 things you need to do when you are dealing with layoffs,

  1. Career development help

  2. Counseling services

  3. Support groups

Employees are now being thrust into a new role and they need advice on how to handle the new responsibilities. Career development help will simply show them how they are going to assume these new responsibilities and work through them and use them to advance their career. Make sure you inform them that if they do a good job, a bonus may lie in the near future for them. Be careful about making promises you can’t keep, especially since your staff is going to be naturally weary of anything you say right now.

When you lay off people, counseling services are often necessary. Some people take longer to heal than others and they will go through periods of rage, anger, sadness, and pain. Give your employees time to heal and come to them and offer emotional support. Bring counseling services to the office so your employees have the option of speaking with a counselor that will give them coping techniques that can help them overcome the emotional problems and look forward to the future.

The final thing you need to immediately implement is a support group. Similar to counseling services, your employees need to know they are safe. They need to be able to talk with a group of people that are feeling the same way and look for ways to uplift and help one another.

When you focus on your employees that are remaining instead of the ones you are losing, you are going to build a stronger connection with them and you will be able to overcome your issues as a team. Remind your employees that you have also lost friends due to the downsizing process and that it does impact you just as painfully as it impacts them. This will allow them to see that you are human and you do care about the people that are working for you.

Employees left behind often complain about a few of the following problems:

  • Lack of respect for their mangers and no commit to their job

  • Confusion about their role and responsibilities

  • Stress due to increased workloads and improper training

  • Distrust for management

  • Feelings of betrayal

  • Unappreciated and feeling undervalued

Now that you know what long-term effects downsizing will have on an organization, you can address these issues with your employees and look for ways to overcome these problems before they get worse. The last thing you want to do is cause your employees to hate working for the company and cause them to start sending out their resume. Bring your employees together and thank them for their hard work and dedication to the team. Make sure you are paying attention to their emotional needs and try to prevent conflicts from arising in the office during this time by sending employees away on training events and team building workshops.

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