Not long ago there was a time when employees were hired very carefully and for life (at least the intention was so). This intent and scenario has changed drastically now and there is no longer any permanence for any employee in most of the organizations. Companies are often under tremendous pressure from the competition and in case of shrinking margins or lower profitability companies often look for cost cutting measures despite increasing work. However trimming down the cost often translates into getting rid of some of the employees. “Lay Offs” to be precise in industry terminology. Now to get rid of some of these employees and at the same time maintain the image, organizations use different criteria. Many times these are not clear to employees. Leadership failure in terms of appropriate communication and its impact is a separate topic.
During the entire process by which organizations get rid of some of the employees creates a lot of confusion and chaos among all the employees and not just the one’s impacted because of these actions. Many a times organizational leadership fails to realize this fact and assumes that the things will eventually settle down. Assumption that this is how things work in the tough environment and employees will forget about it after some time does not hold true.
Now there are two kind of employees during the process ‘one group can be termed as Perished’ this is the group which is impacted and have been asked to leave. They would obviously be very disappointed for being impacted if the reasons mentioned are not related to performance or discipline. They would feel discriminated, but eventually will move out. This group is not such a big problem for the organization. Other significant part of the employees the other group which can be termed as Survived is going to be a bigger problem for the organization moving forward. As the reasons for these actions are not very clear to the Survived, they continue to be under suspicion and constant pressure of being impacted in the near future. This generates a lot of fear in the organization, a situation where people can go into the shell and avoid taking any kind of risks.
Few things to consider with respect to Survived here in these circumstances:
· This is the significant mass in the organization and cannot be left for time to take care of.
· If they are not clear about the changes being made they would continue to be apprehensive for a very long time. Due to this apprehension they may not be sure about their own career growth or future assignments. In this situation employee productivity starts to take a hit and key deliverables are missed impacting the overall performance of the organization.
· Ideally in these circumstances an organization would need its best performers to do more, take more responsibility and deliver more. But due to the ongoing chaos and uncertainty high performers are the ones most likely to leave the organization. This is because of the fact that they are more likely to get better opportunities outside and in a quick time. As some of the high performers leave they create a void which is not easy to fill, also the remaining ones will find it very difficult to perform at the next level. These not so bright performers will stick around as they would not find it easy to get the jobs outside. They would not be able to perform as per the organization expectations at the same time.
· Organization would always like to have highly engaged, dedicated and committed employees on board but these actions (especially when not managed properly) cannot keep the employees in the high spirits. They would rather just drag on, limiting themselves with respect to deliverables. They would have a feeling that if organization is not committed to them why they should be committed. This is certainly not a very good environment for any organization for its long term growth and success.
· Any organization looking for growth and leadership in the market they operate in, would rely heavily on Innovation. Innovation comes through risk taking which has to be practiced by large number of its employees. Unfortunately Survived are not in the right frame of mind to take risks as they would have a lot of fear of failure. If they take risk and fail or something goes wrong that may not be taken positively by the organization and they may be targeted for failing rather than appreciated for taking risk. They would surely like to play safe in these situations.
If assessed and analyzed properly overall impact of such decisions is more on Survived than the Perished and that would be a more worrying factor for an organization.