In the recent months, thousands of redundancies have been made from large global companies, including Twitter, Warner Bros, Meta, and Stripe, creating what's called the 'Great Global Redundancy'. Many employees are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the sudden change taking place in their lives as well as workplace survivor syndrome.
Employees have abruptly been restricted access to company computers and work systems as new owner Elon Musk begins his cull of the company’s workforce. Twitter’s head of safety and integrity appeared to confirm reports that 50% of the company’s global workforce of 7,500 was cut due to $4m a day lost in revenue.
Job losses have emotional, psychological, and organizational repercussions on those left behind in the company. Workplace survivor syndrome is seen by experts as the consequence of downsizing and restructuring and denotes repercussions faced by those who ‘survive’ the redundancy program. Many studies show that those left behind can find it difficult, they display an increase in alcohol consumption, smoking and workplace injury, and other studies show an effect on mental health, with reports of depression, poor morale, and reduction in productivity.
According to a report by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), the range of adverse effects that an individual with workplace survivor syndrome experiences would include:
- Lower morale and motivation
- A sense of guilt for surviving
- Fear of losing your own job and apprehension about the future
- Grieving the loss of former colleagues
- Anger at the redundancy process
Employees can be either frozen or anxious, and because they become overwhelmed with the fear that they may be next, they become less productive. The commitment to the organisation can be lost, with many individuals working long hours with a lack of motivation to work hard or produce good work. Some employees can feel that they are more valued by the company than those who have been let go, reinforcing beliefs that fewer colleagues lead to less competition. However, fear and resentment towards the company can arise when employees are overloaded with work from previous staff who are no longer with the company.
Many workers who are worried and uncertain about their future can panic after layoffs, leading them to look for other jobs. Research shows that the effect of a longer-term feeling of vulnerability for workers, during the lead up to redundancies and the settling down post layoffs, can be worse psychologically than for those who were let go. Roughly one-third of employees felt guilty about retaining their job, it can bring up a deep sense of guilt with some employees wondering why their job was spared. Employees can lose trust in their business or upper management, the confusion that occurs can lead them to feel apprehensive towards the company and the person who will take over the new role. This can result in feeling the need for more direction and security from their management organisation.
Wellity are here to support you and your organisation during these times of change. Our training titles are designed to help attendees remain resilient and will equip you with tools to cope with stress, anxiety and positively lead through change.
- Coping with Change
- Resilience – The power of Grit
- Leading Through Change
- Understanding Survivor Guilt
For more information on how to support your teams and organisations throughout this difficult time, contact our Wellity team at firstname.lastname@example.org