Skip to main content

Mention the word redundancy and people inevitably think of the unfortunate individuals who are let go from their roles – and rightly so. Being on the receiving end of redundancy can be a life-altering experience professionally, financially and emotionally.

But the effects of redundancies are felt more widely than simply by those who leave the organization. In the aftermath of a redundancy program, what happens to the people left in the workplace – the survivors? And how can employers ensure they get the support they need?

1. Scratch beneath the surface

For employees still in their roles, on the surface, nothing has changed. They still have paid employment and don’t have to go through the upheaval of finding and settling into a new job. They’ll avoid the need to worry about their rent or mortgage payments if they cannot find employment before their redundancy pay runs out, with all the associated stress it would cause.

After any redundancy program is complete, the employees who survived will initially likely feel a sense of relief. But the feelings that follow may cause them sleepless nights or worse. They might feel survivor’s guilt, but that may be the tip of the iceberg.

Whether through overreaching, poor performance, or a takeover, the need for redundancies shines a light on the health of the business. Common thinking may go that if the company is in such dire straits that it needs to make redundancies, it may not be able to turn its fortunes around and become successful again. This may lead to more pressure to perform well – even if only self-imposed. Change can be stressful, especially when inflicted rather than by choice. There might be anxiety around the potential reshuffling to address gaps made by those who have left and concern around the potential for workloads to increase.

How a manager looks after their remaining employees may well make the difference between the business merely surviving and actively thriving in the future.

2. Respect the fear

It’s commonly the case that once the redundancy process is over, the people left behind fear for their position within the company. They no longer feel safe and secure in their employment which is a difficult time for employers. Fear can be a great motivator, and the time after redundancies is often when people look around for a job that feels more secure or are open to being poached by competitors.

Word of a company’s redundancies will be out worldwide, and other employers may have been keeping tabs on the situation. While this can work in favor of people who have been let go, it can spell disaster for the surviving team, already operating in the shadow of uncertainty and rocked by the recent departure of colleagues. Further employee churn is a major risk, with staff potentially following their former colleagues into a competitor’s ranks.

For an employer to avoid too many resignations following a redundancy program, the best place to start is by listening. Whether on a one-to-one basis or through an employee opinion survey, hearing from the survivors is the only true way of discovering the remaining employees’ morale. Listening to their fears and concerns is crucial to addressing them – and setting them on a more positive path.

3. Understand grieving

If working relationships were close and productive, there might be a sense almost akin to bereavement for survivors. Employees will be grieving the loss of their colleagues, and, like any loss, these feelings can be compounded by their fear of what’s next or the stress of altered workloads.

The emotional impact of missing a friend or colleague can be doubled by the impact of more work. If this is work that redundant colleagues previously undertook, it can feel like insult added to injury. This may be a step too far for survivors, resulting in increased rates of absence due to sickness. Like an elastic band, emotional resilience can only stretch so far – when it becomes too stretched, it will break.

Monitoring absences and the reasons for them becomes crucial to understanding the pressures employees are facing. A good redundancy program should also include implementing or increasing mental health support for staff. If an employer lacks the resources to provide this support directly, they can provide advice and guidance on external help that might be available to the survivors.

4. Remember every employee

In the turmoil of a redundancy program and its aftermath, the focus typically falls on the staff let go and the survivors. But what is often overlooked is the wellbeing of the managers who have taken responsibility for the redundancies that have occurred.

Much of the workload falls on managers, and due to their position, they are exposed to the stress of the process from every direction. But managers are also employees and may be grieving the loss of friends and colleagues, too, not to mention coping with feelings of guilt.

It’s important for employers not to overlook managers and the help and support they might need. They will feel the strain if they previously managed a tight-knit and effective team and now have to regroup with fewer staff but a similar workload.

It might be as simple as a forum where they can talk to other managers in the same position or something more in-depth like counseling. Whatever the response, they need the same support, encouragement and friendly ear as other survivors, as well as a sight of future opportunities.

5. Shift the focus

Good business leaders will always have a vision of where they want their business to be, its goals, and objectives. Hopefully, this vision has played a big part in the planning and rationale for the redundancy program, and has already been communicated to staff – both those who were made redundant and those who remain. Now that the business is dealing with the aftermath of those redundancies, there’s never been a more important time to double down on that vision.

If employers are able to share their vision with the survivors effectively, it will give them an insight into what their future with your organization might look like and the opportunities available to them.

With internal communications so crucial, this is the time for employers to build and improve their methods of engagement with their employees. Rewarding staff for innovation, celebrating their successes, or even considering long-term retention bonuses to critical employees can all form part of a concerted strategic effort to rebuild momentum.

Creating a culture where everyone feels like they’re in it together, with shared goals and hopes, will enable employers to gradually shift the focus from a difficult chapter to an exciting future where every employee feels valued and can see the opportunities and better times on the horizon.

Jill Aburrow (FCIPD) has more than 30 years’ experience in HR. She is the founder of Heartfelt HR and author of ‘Redundancy With Love: Getting it right for your people and your business’.

Share this post:


Sally Fletcher
Sally Fletcher

Left us a 5 star review

Sally Fletcher
December 12, 2023

I would highly recommend agilis recruitment to anyone looking for work. I was contacted a few weeks ago by Chris, who matched the skills I have to an opportunity I was unable to refuse. He was professional and knowledgeable, but also friendly and down to earth. With quick response times, he was able to answer every question I had about the role whilst selling my skills and personality to the company before I had even met them. The input form Chris throughout the process, not only made everything easier but also it took the pressure off massively. I am very grateful. Thank you.

Jon Ives
December 11, 2023

Chris has done a great job for me. It's most refreshing to have a recruiter that both understands the role being recruited and listens to the candidate's requirements and concerns. Top marks!

Michael-William Kelly
December 2, 2023

It was great to work with Chris at Agilis to find my new role. He was always on hand to guide me through the process and make sure I was fully briefed prior to each interview. I would happily use Chris to find me a job... although I'm very happy where I am now! M-W Kelly

Eric Edge
October 31, 2023

Had a top experience with Edd. Sorted me 3 interviews with my preference of company, landed a role very quickly after. Professional + Friendly guy, would recommend.

Edna Atkins
July 17, 2023

An excellent recruitment experience. From the initial contact and throughout the interview process, Chris and his team excelled. I can highly recommend this agency.

Brendan Dodge
May 15, 2023

Chris from Agilis recruitment was fantastic. Professional and friendly; from providing the role, to the level of contact throughout the process.

Jen Cummings
May 15, 2023

Edd was great, I had some bad experiences with recruiters whilst looking for a new role but Edd restored my faith!

March 29, 2023

Chris at Agilis was professional throughout the entire process and was always available to discuss any concerns. He also made sure to only flag roles that I would have a genuine interest in. Thanks again Chris!

Mac Beirne
March 1, 2023

Chris Ellsworth was my recruiter and I was greatly impressed with the level of his assistance throughout the process from start to finish. He provided me with job role applications that were personalised to me based on what I told him I was looking for. If there was any confusion, I was always able to contact him throughout the whole process and ask for clarification which he would then, always happily give. Chris genuinely made me feel that he wanted me to get the role as much as I did and helped me with every step on the way.

subhash d
May 24, 2022

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. Found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way. Thank you so much for the support Ed.

Jessica Stafford
May 10, 2022

Had a great experience with Agilis Recruitment. Ed helped me find the perfect role for me in a great business. He also was very professional, cooperative but most importantly, understood what was important to me and listened to what I was looking for. Thank you Ed!

Arthur Guide
February 25, 2022

Amazing experience with Agilis, a professional company. I have no words to thank Edward. He found a great role for me.

Miles Jarvis
February 5, 2021

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. It was great to have a recruiter who understands exactly what his clients are looking for in a candidate. 5 stars!

Damian Marchewka
February 2, 2021

Ed was great, found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way, solid agency

Nadia Mkinsi
May 27, 2020

Laura is a lovely individual and easily the best recruiter I have ever worked with: proactive without being pushy, professional without lacking sincerity, and most importantly, she genuinely cares about her clients. She was incredibly conscientious in understanding my background and aspirations, and matched me with a role I WAS really excited about. I knew I was in good hands from our very first conversation – and I am happy to say I am a month into my new job and loving it!

Dean Rudge
April 21, 2020

I worked with Ed when securing my role. It was a massive step in the direction I wanted to move my career in and Ed was pivotal in making that happen. I liked that right from the start he was not pushy, he listened to what I had to say and feedback and he kept in regular contact without bombarding me, using the most suitable form of messaging whether it be LinkedIn, Email or a Phone Call. I would highly recommend Ed and the guys at Agilis - keep up the great work guys!

Paul Stonuary
March 30, 2020

A really nice team to do with. Proactive, prompt and supportive - just what you want, but rarely find in a recruitment agency.

Chris Harvey
March 23, 2020

Have found Agilis recruiting fantastic. Cannot rate them highly enough! Give them a go for all recruitment needs!

Harry Ray
March 20, 2020

Laura and Ed at Agilis helped me get placed last year, and Laura was exceptionally accommodating and patient, calling me outside of hours when it was convenient for me and keeping me in the loop about everything that was going on. I'm happy with my role and feel like the guys at Agilis really put time and effort into their work -- thank you!

Tarnea Garvey
March 20, 2020

My experience with Agilis has been great. I found Laura to be incredible helpful and always ensured she remained in contact with me throughout my job search. Thankfully I managed to find a new job through Agilis and the company has turned out to be everything that they told me the it would be! 5 Stars from me!!

Alex Dewey
March 19, 2020

Great experience with Agilis. Following relocating to Bristol I’d found myself having conversations with a couple members of the team. I’d expressed how important it was for me to find the right role but also due to circumstance I needed the process to be accelerated as much as possible. Laura was my main point of contact and managed to find me the best role I’ve ever had in what must be record time. I couldn’t rate their work higher and will definitely be my first point of contact when looking for new opportunities. Thanks again!

Harry Rossiter
March 19, 2020