I came across a great article today that talks about how to stop Survivor Guilt from affecting your business. Survivor Guilt is defined at the psychological impact that your employees are subject to in view of layouts happening to friends and co-workers around them. The current economic climate means that companies are downsizing in order to cope with it’s effects, and everyone is being impacted by the measures organisations are taking to keep themselves viable.
The problem with survivor guilt is that it carries a risk of turning to resentment: resentment that their circle of friends and influence is being reduced, resentment that their workload has increased, resentment that others in the company have been treated unfairly. This can have a negative impact on their attitude towards management with a knock on decrease in output and effectiveness.
So what can be done to mitigate against the effect of Survivor Guilt? Here are a few measures that can be taken:
- Reach Out: Maintain a relationship with the laid-off employees. Ensure they know you will be looking to them again when you can and encourage them to keep in touch with their friends. You haven’t just told them to pack their luggage and leave; you want to keep in touch. Don’t hide this; make sure the remaining employees know you are looking out for their ex-colleagues. Show them you care.
- Manage Increased Workloads: Be aware of the extra work people now have to do. Offer them support and help them make themselves more effective. Listen to them and give them the tools they need.
- Put Yourself on the Line: Show your employees that the lay-offs have been hard on you too. Share your feelings with them and let them know of any measures you are taking to ensure the company’s continued success.
The advice above is not complex, but it’s easy to forget in times of recession when companies are struggling for survival. It’s easy to get defensive, hide behind your fight gear and attack anyone who comes your way, but this is not constructive. Show your team that you care about that, show them your human side, show them you are compassionate. And above all, give them hope for the future.