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R.G. Consultants

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

We've Moved!

Rebecca Griffiths Consultants have moved. We are now residing in South West Connecticut, USA – about 40 minutes from NYC. 

We've had a short break in trading due to work restrictions of moving to a new country, but I can now inform you that we are back up and running and ready for business! 

Rebecca Griffiths Consultants is running just as it was in London, England, but with a new address and a slight time difference (we're 5 hours behind, but still as alert as ever!). 

We're available for all of your People Development and Employee Engagement needs; so, if we can help, please do not hesitate to get in touch

Watch this space for our new website and name change coming soon. In the meantime, please browse this site to find out more about what we do and how we may be able to help. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Leading Through Change

It may be a few years since the crash of 2008, but that doesn’t mean layoffs are no longer a reality. Everywhere we look there are redundancies here and downsizing measures there. Organisations are always changing, and with change comes cuts.

In times of flux, it often feels most comfortable to focus on costs because they are easier to manage and have tangible outcomes. People, on the other hand, can be more channelling. Unfortunately, losing people to save costs, and making sure those left behind stay motivated, are equally important. Many employees have friends and colleagues lose their jobs, when one day they are working right next to them, the next they’re not. Not only is this traumatic for those that leave, and need to find work elsewhere, it’s equally distressing for those left behind.

Why do those left have a rough deal?

1. Although a full role for the person made redundant may no longer exist, often there are remnants of a role that those left behind need to take on board. This means employee workloads change and often increase, and those left have to prioritise differently to adapt.

2. People feel a sense of loss for their fellow employees, and for the culture, process and role changes that come with people leaving the organisation.

3. When people join an organisation, they join a group and they feel accepted and needed by that group. When they see that group can easily expel others, they feel the psychological contract (the unwritten rule of loyalty and trust made between organisation and employee when they join) is broken. This brings unease and concern for their future and puts any trust built up over the length of their time at the organisation into jeopardy.

4. When employee's friends and colleagues are let go, people fear that if others are expendable then they may be too. Of course, this is always possible in today’s working world so we can’t eliminate such fears completely. However, we can help people to know that if they do the best they can, meet, and where possible exceed, the requirements of their role, they should stay in a positive position. 

So what can we do to cushion the blow to employees we've chosen to take us forward in our business?

Well, it's quite simple; treat people as you would want to be treated and you'd be surprised how receptive they can be, even in difficult situations.

Expecting people to carry on as normal, or even exceed expectations during layoffs, due to fear of what will happen if they don’t, could be shortsighted. It is likely to thwart their creativity and their work will suffer. Of course, you could make others redundant too but think of the costs of rehire, retraining, and adapting to culture this involves. Keeping good people is always the best option.

Communicate, set them at ease, and make them feel valued.

Take those left in your team out for lunch, talk to them, reassure them their jobs are safe. Or, if their jobs are not safe, or you're unsure at this stage, reassure them that you’re working to get as much information as you can as quickly as you can. It’s not recommended to do this in big groups otherwise employees can feel like a number rather than an individual. Aim to talk to people in small groups to ensure each and every person feels a valued member of the team.

It is also a great idea to take people out of the office because it gets them away from the stress going on in the workplace and prevents discussions from feeling so formal. It allows people to be in an environment where they can see the bigger picture, and it can dispel some of the concern and worries people have.

Image source

I recently read a quote from True Compass that I believe drives home what an organisation should be trying to achieve after downsizing: 

“The extra attention you pay those employees left behind will pay off in reduced loss in production and a more dedicated and loyal staff. You know you have reached your goal when you consistently hear your employees say, “The Company had to make a hard, but necessary decision regarding those lay offs, and now is the time we all pull together and turn this situation around.””

Employees are human, just like you and I, and humans have feelings, emotions and needs. Making sure people know you care can do wonders for their motivation, engagement in their work and the future of your business. Get everyone moving in the same direction and you'll be surprised what you can achieve.

Image source

Of course, there are lots of ways to lead through downsizing in organisations. Over to you! What are your thoughts on managing employee morale post redundancies in teams? I'd love to hear how you've managed similar situations, or how you might manage such issues in the future. 

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