Thursday, May 7, 2009

RIF Recovery: Healing, hope and health

A new study by Leadership IQ reveals the glaring truth about the reduction-in-force aftermath. If you have recently experienced a reduction-in-force in your organization, three-fourths of your employees are likely experiencing a decline in productivity. Fewer people are doing the work and less work is being done by those who "survived" the reduciton.

The study of 4,712 survivors in 318 firms revealed other disturbing facts:
- 64% said the productivity of their colleagues has also declined
- 81% said the quality of service the customers receive has declined
- 77% said they are less likely to recommend their organizations as good places to work
- 61% said they believe their companies' future prospects are worse

How does an organization recover from such a devastating blow? In difficult times, an organization cannot afford to have a demoralized, unproductive staff. What is the answer?

The answer begins with healing at the Senior team level. That's right - the Senior Team members must become vulnerable. Transformational leaders feel the impact of a reduction-in-force just like all other employees. Employees want to know that their leaders are real human beings. The healing process invites Senior Leaders to examine their own role in the reduction-in-force and discuss how it impacted them individually and collectively. These authentic discussions can then extend into the workforce so that healing can take place at every level of the organization.

Once healing has begun, it is time to plant the seeds of hope. To foster hope, leaders must offer a new vision of the organization that employees can help to build upon. They will help their leaders rebuild the organization and inspire them when they are down. People want their organizations to succeed. Loosening controls and opening to employee involvement is essential in this step. Appreciative inquiry is a perfect tool to use to engage the workforce and inspire hope for the future.

As employees get into action to rebuild the organization, health is restored. If 75% of your employees currently feel unfocused and are struggling to put in a full day's work, imagine all of your employees feeling energized and united around a common vision. Research on successful organizations reveals this as a formula for success.

With recognition that your employees need to heal and find hope, your organization can move from devastation to health in the matter of a few short months.

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