How can employers support redundancy survivors? Guidance from XpertHR

Redundancies can have a detrimental effect on employees left behind – the “redundancy survivors”, affecting their morale, motivation and sometimes increasing absences. To help businesses avoid “redundancy survivor syndrome”’ in their organisation,

XpertHR has created a Supporting Redundancy Survivors guide.

“Survivor syndrome” is an emotional reaction to redundancies experienced by employees who remain in an organisation. It can have a significant impact on their work performance and negative consequences for the employer who is reliant on their remaining workforce for their future success.

XpertHR’s good practice manual discusses how to support redundancy survivors, why employees develop survivor syndrome, how to communicate with survivors and involve them in a restructure. It also offers practical and emotional support for survivors to help them make a success of the new structure.

Jeya Thiruchelvam, XpertHR’s managing editor, employment law said, “Since the Covid-19 lockdown many organisations have made employees redundant, and it’s expected many more will do as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to end in October and they deal with the impact of the global recession.

“Employees who survive a redundancy programme will have experienced a period when the outcome and their future were uncertain. They will have seen their colleagues notified of redundancy. Survivors’ sadness at losing colleagues will be compounded by other emotions if they think their employer failed to manage the process properly. Our guide will help employers manage redundancies fairly, objectively, and humanely, so they can avoid, or greatly reduce, incidences of survivor syndrome. This is essential for ensuring the business survives the rocky economic road ahead.”

XpertHR offer the following tips for organisations to avoid redundancy survivor syndrome:

  • Employers should keep survivors informed about the progress of the redundancy programme and what they are doing to support redundant employees.
  • The redundancy programme may lead to a period of reorganisation. The employer should involve redundancy survivors in making plans for its future.
  • The employer should acknowledge that redundancy survivors may be experiencing a period of uncertainty and upheaval and give them credit for their role in the reorganisation.
  • Giving redundancy survivors emotional support should help to reduce any adverse reactions to the redundancy programme and is likely to minimise the risk of negative consequences for the organisation.
  • Practical support can help redundancy survivors to cope with new duties or an increase in their workload.
  • Line managers play an important role in supporting redundancy survivors, and training can help them to acquire the skills to support employees during the transitional period.

To read the XpertHR good practice manual in full click here.

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