Even layoff survivors suffer

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They announced layoffs in my division this morning. I’m still on maternity leave and therefore out of the corridors, but here’s what I know is going on: staffers are clustering in offices and cubicles, arms crossed and heads down, sharing rumors and hearsay, making predictions about who’ll stay and who’ll go. Layoff announcements don’t tend to boost productivity.

Research says post-layoffs aren’t exactly nirvana for workers, even those who survive. According to Sirota Survey Intelligence, survivors suffer greater worker insecurity, higher stress, less teamwork, heavier workloads, and a general feeling of being “less valued.”

Sirota conducted a lot of research during our last massive downturn, just after 9/11. By examining the attitudes of 500,000 workers in 2000 and again in 2002, Sirota learned more workers felt there was less opportunity for advancement, too much work and less innovation in the aftermath of the terror strike.

So who’s happier, the laid off or the survivors? Can you comment from experience?

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