Overcoming 'Survivor Syndrome' after Layoffs

Has your organization, like so many others, had to conduct layoffs due to this recession? What’s your take on those actions? Do you believe they were truly necessary for the company to survive and that the company handled the process well with frequent, honest communications? Or were you perhaps the victim of a ham-handed redundancy exercise that used the recession as an excuse to cut headcount?

The Conference Board recently issued a report (press release available here. The full report is available to members.) that looks at precisely these issues – how company communications around layoffs drive employee perceptions and reactions to the situation. This in turn affects how well “survivors” perform and re-engage with the company.

Overcoming survivor syndrome – “the low morale, reduced commitment, and lack of loyalty and trust suffered by those remaining employed at downsized companies” – is critical for a company wishing to remain competitive today and able to lead in the upturn. One way to do this during a down economy is by feeding employee needs for psychic income – social acceptance, increased self-esteem and self realization that can never be met through compensation.

The most effective way to do this is through frequent recognition of employee efforts to assist their teams and the company in succeeding. Acknowledging the pressure and fear they may feel while appreciating their efforts to continue to perform at a high level helps employees overcome the equally devastating psychological recession many are currently experiencing as well.

What's your "survivor" status?

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