Ensuring a smoother retrenchment exercise

PETALING JAYA: Downsizing or laying off employees as organisations undergo restructuring in the face of economic uncertainties is more than just deciding on the severance package for the potentially retrenched employees.

The process does not just end at the departure of the retrenched workforce. While they would definitely be affected by the process, the ill effects may also affect the retained workforce and the organisation.

Monetary agreement has always taken the centre stage in every downsizing exercise. What most organisations lack is the bigger picture of the process, or the organisation responsibility.

Star Media Group Bhd is holding a Retrenchment Recovery Programme next month. It is a workshop aimed to assist the affected workforce to regain control of their current situation, foster resilience in facing emotional challenges and rediscover their sense of purpose to elevate the company to new heights.

Chartered psychologist and trainer Dr Ke Guek Nee (pic) said the workshop is a psychological-based programme to assist the affected workforce in regaining their career goals and confidence.

It is designed to help the retrenched workforce identify and overcome the psychological and behavioural challenges such as emotions as a result of such an exercise.

“For the retained workforce, this program acts as a booster to elevate the individual self-esteem, resilience and motivation to flourish or go beyond present opportunities.

“The third and very important group is the management and the leadership of the organisation, which I specifically focus on HR professionals, line managers and the top management where they will learn how to manage retrenchment exercises from psychological perspectives for a smoother transition and success,” she said.

Dr Ke added that research has proven that the psychological health of unemployed or retrenched workers are poorer compared to those who are working and if they are able to be re-employed again, while their well-being may be improved but no positive changes are taking place, their psychological well-being would decline further.

“The severity may not be there for the retained workforce but the impact on these group of survivors will be on productivity.

“This could be due to insecurity, thinking they will be next (to be retrenched).

“Secondly, it could be the work overload as it would been the doubling up of work for them as they need to take up the responsibilities of those who left.

“Having this two could cause withdrawal or counter productive behaviour such as absenteeism, taking medical leaves regularly and presenteeism, where employees are present but not productive,” said Dr Ke, adding that what companies could do from a psychological perspective is to establish a clear role and responsibility for those retained or even involve them in decision making as that would give them a sense of control which will increase job engagement and organisational citizenship.

On the consequences of a retrenchment exercise to the organisation, she said it will encounter a loss of talent and committed workforce as it may not identify those who are.

“We hope that we will be able to change the mindset of the workforce during the workshop and channel their negative emotions to positive thoughts.

“If you’re able to think positively, the employees will actually gain more with their new found directions and goals in life,” she said.

The Retrenchment Recovery Programme is organised by Star Media Group Bhd in partnership with Psykeworld.

Besides Dr Ke, health and clinical psychologist, clinical hypnotherapist and neuro linguistic programming (NLP) master practitioner Dr Zuhrah Beevi is also a trainer for the workshop.

It will be held from 9am to 5pm on Aug 20 and 21 at Menara Star here. The regular rate is RM2,800 while the early or group rate is RM2,600.

The early rate is applicable for registration before July 31. Group rate is applicable for registration of three or more participants.

To register or for more information about the workshop, log on to bit.ly/starrrp.

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