Job loss does not arise any physical pain. It influences only human emotions which, however, can result in the severe mental disorder like neurasthenia or elsewhat. As a rule, the top emotions employees being fired due to the downsizing experience are disbelief, anger, depression, bargaining, and a strong feeling of injustice.
Massive layoffs may be caused by the company’s temporary inability to pay wages. A tough O.D. professional must be experienced enough to point at the reasons such as a financial crisis or inflation in order to help people reconcile. When something like this happens, it is necessary to play the role of both good counselor and educated psychologist.
First and for most, it is important to be well informed about the circumstances under which the company made a decision to downsize some people. It can be because of merger or acquisition. An O.D. professional has to be sincere and tell the whole truth. It is better to agree that the company just needed more money, the boss is greedy, or the company wants to go globally. Expansion is not a good excuse, but at least it will make a person realize there is no personal fault for being fired.
Change in management might be another cause. Often, different managers have different visions of company’s strategy. That’s why different managers need various amount of people with particular skills. It also proves downsized people are not fool or lazy.
The Economic crisis is the best reason that is most often accepted with understanding. Automation is the worst cause ever – perhaps it is better to avoid conversations about the reasons if human beings were replaced by the machines.
Outsourcing is another critical issue. It may even arise cross-cultural conflict whenever employees from one country’s office were fired for the sake of cheaper labor coming from another country. In any case, all of the reasons have to be stated honestly and prosaically to diminish the personal offense.
Vulnerability is one of the techniques which are useful for reducing the pain caused by downsizing or outsourcing. The trick is that an O.D. expert highlights the weaknesses of the leadership. Hearing about the disadvantages or problems of the others often calms people down because of their nature. At the moment they learn about the layoffs, a strong desire for revenge comes to their minds. It is destructive from psychological and moral aspects, so it has to be prevented via boosting, for instance. It is critical to allow every downsized employee express the emotions.
By building effective two-way communication channels, a good counselor can cheer a desperate employee. Creating a bridge between the workers and heads will help to reduce personal conflicts. One more tool is to provide an employee with excellent references and feedback to ease his further recruitment processes. A range of social benefits and retirement programs is offered to those who were downsized.
An O.D. counselor should deliver all legal and formal information in a friendly and understandable way.