Today's guest blog is from David Noer author of Healing the Wounds: Overcoming the Trauma of Layoffs and Revitalizing Downsized Organizations
GUEST BLOG: The Top Five Managerial Fallacies Concerning Layoff Survivors by David Noer.
Today’s epidemic of layoffs requires managers to formulate strategies that will help their organizations recover from the ravages of downsizing and return to productivity and in order to do that, they need to reevaluate some misperceptions associated with downsizing.
Here are the top five layoff fallacies along with critical managerial strategic responses:
1. Fallacy: There is a direct relationship between reducing “people costs” and organizational productivity. A layoff on a Friday will result in productivity gains on the following Monday.
Reality: The overwhelming consensus of downsizing research is that layoffs do not achieve their going in productivity goals. Survivors of most organizations are angry, depressed, anxious and fearful. They are not able or willing to take risks or focus on increasing customer service. At the very time organizations need them to be the most creative and energetic; they hunker down in the trenches, absorbed in their own toxic survivor symptoms.
Strategic Response: Organizations need to move beyond layoff administration and planning into formulating strategies for layoff recovery. This involves re-recruiting demoralized employees and working to help them overcome debilitating survivor emotions.
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2. Fallacy: Survivors will work hard because they will be grateful that they were lucky enough to keep their jobs.
Reality: Layoff survivors are not motivated by luck. In fact, evidence is clear that the opposite happens – they are demotivated by survivor guilt and its cousins: anxiety and depression.
StrategicResponse: Managers need to examine and, if necessary, reframe their assumptions concerning survivor motivation. In order to return to productivity, survivors need coaching and empathy. Reminding layoff survivors that they should be grateful won’t motivate them; it will only make them feel deeper levels of survivor guilt.
3. Fallacy: Organizational leaders should not tolerate any whining and complaining.
Reality: Without the healthy externalization of layoff induced anger, fear, and anxiety, employees will remain crippled by layoff survivor sickness. In fact, research shows their symptoms will get worse.
Strategic Response: Counter cultural though it may be, managers need to develop organizationally sanctioned processes that facilitate the venting of repressed feelings and emotions. Healthy venting is a necessary means to the end of moving employees back to productivity.