The company faced the most challenging time during the last financial year. The Board of Directors had contemplated the possibility of withdrawing the new products from the market but, as the market stood, it became the least the company could do, and it had to work out another viable option. The decision to lay off workers came as a surprise to many. As the head of the production unit, my department was the worst affected. Losing over 50 percent of my team was going to be a blow. Over the next one week, I could not come to comprehend how I was to face and work with some of my closest team members. The mood in the operating room gradually changed as the reality sunk into the over 80 employees scheduled for layoff in four months time. Although they received the assurance of sound financial send-off, many were negatively affected.
Over the next couple of weeks, their productivity and engagements gradually changed. I was deeply affected. I could not come face to face with their predicament. Although I did try to offer them support, reassurance of good tidings, and comfort, to them, it was a big blow. Many missed on their targets, canceled engagements, reported late and developed low morale for work. It seems I developed the same stress-related symptoms and forgot my role as a supervisor. My passion for working deteriorated, my involvement with the staff was strained and uncomfortable. Many of them came to my office to beg for another chance, but I sadly informed that it was a decision by the Board of management and it was a decision way above my jurisdiction. I sympathized with them, tried my level best to empathize and reassure them of better tidings ahead, but I was equally stressed out. Sleep was a problem, my appetite and passion for my favorite sport dropped flat. I canceled most of my golf training more than once and preferred to brood in my office until late in the night. On many occasions, I drafted a resignation letter four times, just to tear it up all over again. I was bitter, angry, and upset at the situation. I was helpless and gradually developed a negative attitude towards my superiors.The management did little to help the over 100 employees who were scheduled for joblessness. The best they did was to make arrangements for faster and efficient handover of their duties and responsibilities to other employees. While the company restructuring policy was ongoing, stress levels amongst the workers increased, and performance dropped flat. I had to cover in for many who failed to deliver in their duties.
On three occasions I took a day off to seek for medication due to the persistent headaches and physical strain. Towards the last few days with my team, I could no longer take it anymore, and I too drafted a resignation letter which the company management rejected citing the inability to find my replacement within the short notice. My stress levels shot higher, and I was forced to take a couple of days off to seek for medication.
Despite raising my concern with the relevant top management, nothing was done to help me cope with the layoff. The administration simply played ignorant of the worker's plight despite the fact that it was evident to realize the low level of performance, somber mood, and strained working relationship amongst the workers. I feel that in such a case, the management could have taken the mandate and role to help the employees cope with the situation in addition to offering them the emotional and psychological support to go through all that stress. For example, the management could have given employees a day off and flexible work schedules to help them cope with the situation. Additionally, the top management could have developed a plan to have counseling and training sessions for the affected employees to help them deal with the situation better. Support from the organization was minimal, and they provided little psychological support to the affected.
Losing a job is one of the most stressful experience any individual can go through. According to Jennifer and Gareth, reports of heart attack, death, and deep psychological and physiological effects often leave much disoriented and mentally impaired (2012). On humanitarian grounds, it is the responsibility of the organization or any organization undertaking such a decision on layoff to offer the affected the psychological and emotional support to help them cope with the situation better and prevent them from falling victim to health complications such as heart attack. Jennifer and Garethe argue (2012) that employees dedicate a lot and sacrifice much in regards to fulfilling their obligations at the workplace. To some extent, Kushwaha (2014) argue that many consider the workplace as their second homes. As a way of appreciation and showing concern, it becomes the responsibility of the organization to treat employees under layoff with concern and mindfulness putting into consideration the much sacrifice they have put into the company over the years (Carr et al. 2011).
Carr, J., Kelley, B., Keaton, R., & Albrecht, C. (2011). Getting to grips with stress in the workplace: Strategies for promoting a healthier, more productive environment. Human Resource Management International Digest, 19(4), 32-38.
Jennifer, G., & Gareth, J. (2012). Understanding and managing organizational behavior. Pearson Education India.
Kushwaha, S. (2014). Stress Management At Workplace. Global Journal of Finance and Management, 6(5), 469-472.
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