Redundancy affects many workers over their lifetime.
2.3% of Australian workers who are employed for at least one year are laid off each year as firms close or downsize1.
It is likely that at some point you will work for an organisation that is making roles redundant.
Redundancy in your work place
If there have been redundancies at your workplace recently, it is likely that you have been affected, even if your job was never in question. Redundancy is an emotionally charged topic for people at all levels of an organisation, even when there are good reasons for the redundancies. Strong emotions such as shock, anger, guilt and fear have been commonly found among the employees of organisations experiencing redundancy2.
People whose roles have not been made redundant may find their motivation to do their jobs has diminished; they may also be indecisive, risk-averse and less willing to go "that extra mile"1.
How employees are affected
The way an organisation communicates and manages a redundancy will impact how employees are affected. Allowing employees to volunteer for redundancy rather than using a compulsory selection strategy makes those leaving and those who stay better able to adapt to the change3. People who see those made redundant treated fairly are more likely to adapt to the new arrangements. Other staff may feel envious of those who leave, seeing their colleagues heading to better opportunities and being paid to do so.
What can you do to rebound after redundancies have been made in your workplace?
Remember, it is normal to feel strong emotions.
Jobs are made redundant: not people. It is usually a decision based on facts not personalities, and not always on work performance. If you feel there has been unfairness toward a colleague you care about, talk to that person and see if you can support them. Remember that most EAP programs will support people for a short time following the conclusion of their employment, particularly when employment has ended because of redundancy.
Be adaptable to change. Usually after a round of redundancies there is a perception that the same amount of work must now be done by fewer people. This can add to the feelings of unfairness. However, if you decide to stay, even temporarily, you will need to adapt to the changes and make the best of them.
A lot of people need help to adapt following redundancies at their workplace. If you are affected, even if your job has not been made redundant, your EAP can help. You can make an appointment by calling 1800 629 277 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Worrall, L., Campbell, F., & Cooper, C. (2000). Surviving redundancy: The perceptions of UK managers. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 15(5), 460-476
3. Thornhill, A., & Gibbons, A. (1995). The positive management of redundancy survivors: Issues and lessons. Employee Counselling Today, 7(3), 5
4. leBaruch, Y., & Hind, P. (2000). "Survivor syndrome" - a management myth? Journal of Managerial Psychology, 15(1), 29-45.