What About the Survivors?

Boston-based Learning & Development professional Mary Ellen Donovan asked an important question at LinkedIn:

~ "What about the survivors? The economy is forcing companies to reduce staff through massive layoffs. What are these companies doing to assist the people left behind?"

After one of my downsizing experiences, I remember hearing from a former colleague, "It felt like a drive-by shooting." One moment I was there. The next, I was gone.

The survivors are emotionally shaken by the experience of suddenly losing co-workers.

Since my most recent downsizing, I have tried to keep tabs on some of my former co-workers who were not let go. The most common expression I hear is "It's crazy here."

The survivors are left with more work to do than they had before. In addition to feeling overwhelmed and stressed, chances are that everyone is hunkering down in fear of the next shoe to drop.

What are companies doing to help the people who are still employed? I don't have much data, but I'll offer my two cents on what they should be doing:

- Stress management and wellness support to keep people healthy

- Process improvement to get rid of any non-value-adding work

- Employee teams to brainstorm and come up with ways to help the business survive and thrive

What else would you add?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, March 6, 2009

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