We are always going through change – it’s inherent in our business and our industry. However, the changes involved in layoffs can be particularly tough on who are not getting layed off.
Even if no one in your group loses their job, you may feel impacted emotionally because you may know someone that is involved in a layoff, or you may start to wonder about what the future will bring. It’s to be expected.
Researchers in the field of organization development coined this term Survivor Syndrome.
What is it? Its a set of attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that typically occur in people that continue to have roles in an organization while others are let go due to economic or changing business needs.
In times of layoffs, organizations typically work very hard to treat released employees with respect and support as they leave the organization. This is about how to help yourself and others who stay on, deal with common feelings and stay focused on business commitments.
For a survivor, the typical attitudes are : cynical, uncaring, emotionally exhausted, detached. And the typical feelings are are anger, depression, fear, distrust, guilt, violation, de-valued.
This results in behaviors that look like
Lack of commitment
Distrustful of management
Less team focused
Focus on job instability
Every person is different, so everyone may or may not exhibit these common attitudes, feelings, and behaviors - but the do in varying degrees.
What should you do?
Kalpana Sinha is a Leadership and Organisation Professional. Her blog has reflections from her work experiences of over 20 years.