Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Norris's story: Redundancy/Layoff in a Team

"I was part of a small, close-knit team who faced redundancy together. In my case this didn't mean all of us were made redundant, it meant that the four of us who worked alongside each other every day were put in a room, told that two were being cut and that we should decide between us who stays and who goes. It's hard to describe how that felt at the time. We knew that two of us would be going but worse in a way was knowing that the two who stayed would do so at the expense of their buddies."

Survivor guilt is usually associated with events more traumatic than redundancy but survivor guilt in some form is at work in the above example. Redundancies affect people directly and indirectly and it is not always so easy to decide who comes off worse. Those who remain as employees don't automatically avoid the negative affects of redundancy or layoff.

In Norris's example this redundancy process didn't offer satisfactory support to those on either side. Much worse though was the way those managing the process tried to absolve themselves from the critical decision of who stays and who goes. That decision was left for the subjects to decide between themselves. Norris's story will be continued on this blog because it is an interesting case study of a poorly managed redundancy process and the improvements that interventions offer today can be highlighted as a result.

In the meantime - without giving away the ending - it is enough to say that all four individuals involved in this story can look back on the experience from an improved position today. Underlining the fact that even poorly managed redundancy processes can have little in the way of long-term, negative effects.

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