It may sound far-fetched, but life for those left behind at work following a round of redundancies can be difficult.
Admittedly, they’re not facing the potential financial difficulties caused by losing their job, but morale and workloads for those still employed can combine to form a very real feeling of survivor’s guilt. It is a common response to an event, such as layoffs, in which someone else experienced a loss.
Post-redundancies, reduced teams are often left facing the same workload. Depending on how the cull was managed, morale can often be lower than usual with workers’ disappointment in their managers higher than ever.
Throw into the mix the fact that workers may be dealing with a “why was I saved?” mentality at the same time as an underlying fear that they might be next, and it’s clear to see that surviving layoffs can bring about a very unique set of problems.
So, if you’re experiencing the phenomenon, what is the best way to handle redundancy survivor guilt?
Are you ignoring how you’re feeling, pretending everything is fine, while repeatedly telling yourself you’re lucky to still have a job? Yes, while you are lucky to still be employment, that doesn’t mean everything is fine.
A shift in any company requires a period of readjustment. Ignoring this fact will only impact your own mental health and productivity levels.
On a very practical level, if you’re unhappy in the workplace, then you’re not going to give your all to your role, which means your productivity will drop, potentially putting you at risk for further rounds of layoffs.
Supporting former colleagues doesn’t just mean offering a shoulder to cry on. You can offer practical support by making introductions to help them widen their own professional network. Plus, former colleagues who may go on to work for competitors are also good for your own network and can help you establish a pipeline from which you can learn about upcoming roles and opportunities in other companies.
Are you struggling with feelings of guilt and disappointment at how the layoffs were managed or are you simply missing colleagues you worked alongside for years? All of these feelings are common, and if you’re experiencing them, so are others who also kept their jobs. If you’re leading a team, your staff are probably a little nervous about their own future. This is an opportunity to manage both upwards and downwards.
By sharing your feelings with your team, you’ll show yourself to be an empathetic boss. By speaking up to peers, you may start to build wider relationships with leaders within the business.
Once the dust has settled, try to find out what caused the last round of redundancies, what criteria staff were judged on, and what the company’s plans are to safeguard against these problems in the future. Where do you fit in––do you have the skills needed for future proofing, or were you kept on to tie up operations that are no longer needed?
If it’s the latter, you can get ahead of the problem and start looking for a new job now. It might take a year or more to wind up operations, but that’s a 12-month period in which you could be building relationships and progressing your career at a different company.
Make sure your CV is up-to-date; line up some references, review the major players in your industry and learn if they are hiring. By applying for jobs now and getting an understanding of the labour market, you’ll get an insight into areas you may need to get experience in should you be made redundant.
The Alt A Review Job Board is a great first port of call. Full of companies currently recruiting professionals across all levels and industries, below, you’ll find three exciting roles currently hiring.
The Sourcing Specialist role will contribute to enable The Walt Disney Company in EMEA to strategically manage its third party spend. You will take responsibility for the sourcing strategy and the execution of assigned projects. You’ll have at least three years’ procurement experience in a multinational environment, as well as proven expertise in indirect/services procurement across marketing services.You should also have experience developing and implementing sourcing strategies and leading supplier negotiations. Apply for the Sourcing Specialist role or browse all available opportunities at The Walt Disney Company.
The Marketing Strategist and Operations Analyst role at Darktrace will support the next stage of growth, by driving efficiency, reducing manual and streamlining administrative tasks. You will be responsible for managing technical aspects of key marketing systems used to generate, distribute, and report on leads, while establishing and maintaining scalable processes. To apply, you’ll need a minimum of three years’ experience in marketing analytics/operations and the ability to influence and build strong relationships across all levels of the organisation. Get full details on the Marketing Strategist role, or see other roles at Darktrace.
The Media Planning Senior Executive role is responsible for promoting a specific media channel or group of channels, with a strong focus on transforming video on demand (VOD) into a key marketing tool. As well as helping to develop a strategic promotional strategy, you will also be responsible for overseeing the efficient execution of VOD plans, managing VOD systems, and producing regular measurement reports. To apply, you’ll need proven experience in working in a VOD environment, and will understand the editorial, operational, and commercial demands. Experience of using BARB data and the ability to interrogate such data using Infosys or Advantedge software is required. Find out more about the Media Planning Senior Executive job, or see other openings at ITV.
By Aisling O’Toole