Managing New Employment Relationships

How are you managing?

Downsizing, rightsizing, restructuring and re-engineering are only four of the terms used to describe the reality of staff layoffs. Whatever the label, the process of reducing staff is always painful. Everyone suffers — the laid off, the employees who remain the management group and the organization.
There is no one solution, but there is new information available to assist in making the process less distressing and depressing for all concerned.

Most persons who are terminated are likely to be angry, shocked and feel unfairly treated. Some may feel relief as they knew or expected that cuts were coming, and now they have an opportunity to get on with their lives. After the inevitable initial reactions and readjustment, there is often the realization that there are possibilities and opportunities that await beyond the former employment. To assist in this, there are several things an organization can do to help and ease the transition to another job. These may include further education or full or partial retirement.

The “remainers” the people who survive the cuts need help too. They are likely feeling frightened, insecure, overworked, sad and relieved. These feelings can be long-lasting and result in increased absenteeism, lower productivity, more complaints of discrimination and harassment and other unhealthy realities.
“Remainers” need support and assistance to decrease the consequences for all concerned. They do not need false hopes or reassurance that the downsizing is over. They need time to grieve, time to adjust to and accept their new work reality. They need help in learning about and accepting their forever-changed workplace.

However, the opportunities for individuals faced with such job changes can result in personal growth and less dependency on a single employer. It does require a process of letting go of the old assumptions of security, identity and dependence on any one employer. Self-reliance is the key. Embracing the new realities and taking responsibility for one’s own work life is not an easy assignment, but it is a necessary personal evolution.

The changes in the work realities are both frightening and exciting as we move towards the next millennium. It is okay, indeed, wise to get assistance with the planning, doing, and follow-up that must happen as new employee relations are forged.

There are ways to flourish and grow in the changing work environment.
Before you dismiss the realities of restructuring, please take a few moments and consider the following questions:
Is the downsizing at your organization well planned, or random and indiscriminate?
Is there clear and honest communication about what is happening?
Are ALL employees being prepared for the new work realities?
Are the employees who remain after a downsizing getting any help with survivor sickness?
Are charges of workplace discrimination and harassment on the increase?
Is your organization paternalistic?

Not easy questions, but questions that ought to be considered by every organization that values its people, its productivity and its bottom line. Ignoring the outcomes of restructuring can have enormous consequences both in the short and long term.

Need someone to talk to after the bad news? Need support for your managers? Your staff? The Aviary Group may have just what you need.

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