Organizational Healing LO6647

Terri Deems (
Fri, 12 Apr 1996 19:12:04 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO6567 --

Keith wrote:
> Recommendations include the passage of time followed by lots of
> communications regarding the positive future for the company and making
> opportunities for two-way Q&A sessions. I have been one of 'them' and one
> of 'us' in 20% and 15% downsizing situations, respectively. The process of
> healing takes about 18 months provided there is NO threat of another
> round. Comments?

In our experience with downsizing, outplacement, and organizational
healing, we have found one other dimension that can assist or
constrict "survivors" is the level of assistance the organization
provides to those people leaving the organization: those that provide
comprehensive assistance and support seem to experience a shorter
period of organizational grieving than do those places who provide
only minimal or band-aid support (e.g., slap together a resume for
them, provide minimal severance, and send them out the door).

Communication is also critical, as Keith indicates above. Lack of
communication encourages rumors, fears, etc., and encourages feelings
of powerlessness, hopelessness even sometimes. Clear
communication--up front, honest, open, can help immensely. This
doesn't have to simply focus on the "positive future" for everyone;
research indicates that even more negative information can help
morale--people at least feel they have an understanding of what is
going on, where they stand, and appreciate the fact that management
(or whomever) thinks enough of them as people to be open with them.
Oftentimes, though, NOone knows what the future holds, or where the
company stands. We have conducted workshops around "living on the
question mark" that have been very helpful in such situations.

Terri Deems
Deems Associates Inc

-- (Terri Deems)

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