Redundancy and its impact on those left behind

After the dust is cleared, come Monday morning the so called “lucky” ones who are left behind, huddle at someone’s desk discussing the sad events of Friday afternoon when some of their colleagues were given marching orders.

Such is the scenario at some offices after the big “R” has passed through and did its damage. The truth is the redundancy exercise can be more traumatic for those left behind than it is for those who were directly affected.

The remnants may consider themselves fortunate to have been spared the worst but their work experience might be a living nightmare as they are expected, in some instances, to carry on the duties left behind by their “fallen” colleagues. The work environment can become quite stressful as these workers are most times overworked as they strive to achieve higher production targets.

When counselling sessions are arranged for those exiting the organization, it is imperative that sessions are held simultaneously with the remnants as well.

Here are some of the negative impacts of redundancy on the remaining staff members and by extension the organization

  • High level of anxiety as they don’t know when their names will appear on the “list”
  • High absenteeism due to sickness as workers are overworked and fatigued
  • Frequent incidence of interpersonal conflicts as workers are on edge
  • Because of the shortage of staff, vacation leave might be suspended
  • Customer service might be compromised as workers are fatigued due to short staff
  • Persons might be forced to work unpaid overtime in the interest of the company
  • The workers may not necessarily be the best ones and so you may fix one situation but left with another to contend with
  • Staff morale and motivation may sink to a new low as they grieve the loss of their “fallen” colleagues

Enlightened organizations must be proactive and plan for these eventualities before they occur. Every effort must be made to ease the tension and the staff must be assured that their presence and contributions to the organization are appreciated.

If there ever was a time to build and maintain staff morale is right after a redundancy exercise. The team that is left behind is the one that will drive the organization forward and they can only do so in a working environment that is caring, understanding and trusting. 

About the writer:
Wayne A. Powell is a Relationship Counsellor. He operates an Online counselling website and blog which provides a convenient way for both client and therapist to engage with each other from home or office at a time that is expedient to them.You can email him at: [email protected]