Survivor Syndrome: Are Those Left In The Office Prone To Bullying

A recent Challenger survey found that 54 percent of human resource executives claimed employee-engagement was the biggest challenge facing a post-layoff workplace. Those who survive a layoff are left feeling emotionally detached from their work. They are mourning their fellow co-workers and the loss of the workplace as it once was. Could these feelings lead to workplace bullying?

We have discussed this issue in the past, specifically with women (for our ‘brilliant b*tch’ theory go here). But with the onslaught of layoffs, over 800,000 this year by our count, those left behind are definitely on edge, leading to distinct attitude shifts likely to cause some ruffled workplace feathers.

Employers can combat these feelings of disillusionment and possibly, in some cases, downright despair, all the while keeping workers focused and feeling secure in their positions. It all starts with constant and open communication.

The Challenger survey conducted in anticipation of the 61st Annual Society for Human Resources Conference & Expedition (June 28-July 1), showed that almost 58 percent of employers had supervisors meet with individuals to discuss changes. Another 35 percent reorganized work groups, while 12 percent offered post-layoff counseling to those remaining on staff. Eight percent instituted change management, while 4 percent brought in a business coach. However, 10 percent did nothing for their workers.

Nothing is probably not the way to go during a recession such as this one.
Colleen Madden
Research Associate

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