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Have Layoffs Given Rise To Stronger Workforce Solidarity?

While layoffs initially instil fear and distress, they can also ignite a shared sense of purpose and resilience among remaining employees

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Layoffs, often triggered by economic downturns or organisational restructuring, have become an unfortunate reality for many businesses. These events are often associated with negative connotations, such as job insecurity, anxiety and loss. However, amidst the challenges and uncertainties, a paradoxical phenomenon has emerged – the potential for layoffs to give rise to a stronger workforce solidarity.

An invigorating discussion with Unmesh Pawar, Chief People Officer, Dentsu, India &South Asia; Rajneesh Vashisht, Global People Business Partner, Ericsson and Amit Chincholikar, Global CHRO, Yokohama Off Highway Tyres, led to some very fruitful insights on the issue. The panellists shared how the experience of layoffs, although undeniably painful, can foster a stronger bond and solidarity among the workforce.

Key highlights

Rightsizing and not layoffs is the way of life when running a business, especially where organisations have become a bit more ambitious, in the post-Covid recovery phase. The announcement of layoffs exposes employees to a shared sense of vulnerability. The realisation that their job security is fragile can create a unifying factor among colleagues. As individuals face the threat of unemployment together, they develop empathy and a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by their peers. This collective vulnerability can strengthen bonds and encourage employees to support one another through the difficult period.

Layoffs is one of those measures for organisations today where companies are tightening up the belt to get costs under control. Changing consumer sentiments is forcing companies to change their ongoing business models; hence adopting rightsizing models. Layoffs can also serve as a catalyst for employees to advocate for their rights, voice concerns and work collectively to shape the future of their workplace. Recognising the potential impact on their own job security, employees may become more engaged in dialogue with management, participate in decision-making processes and champion fair treatment and transparency.

Crux

Although layoffs undoubtedly cause pain, disruption and uncertainty, they can paradoxically foster a stronger sense of workforce solidarity. The shared experience of vulnerability, increased communication and collaboration, heightened appreciation for remaining colleagues, resilience and common goals and advocacy all contribute to the formation of a more tightly-knit workforce. As employees navigate the challenges and uncertainties together, bonds are strengthened, trust is reinforced and a collective spirit of resilience and support emerges.

By fostering open communication, providing opportunities for teamwork & collaboration and acknowledging the contributions of employees, organisations can harness the strength of their workforce solidarity.


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