Post-redundancy morale, engagement
One of the divisions of the company had had to make severe cutbacks, which had resulted in major redundancies. These were not voluntary and had an enormous effect on a community in an area of relatively high unemployment. Those who still had jobs were required to change their ways of working and their behaviours to ensure the continued success of the division.
We were first asked to help improve the morale in those who still had jobs. Those who had “survived” had enormous anger, guilt and resentment towards management and were incapable of moving forward until this was addressed. Together with an in-house team, we ran eight away days for these personnel. Using a mix of traditional stories, their own personal tales and other appropriate activities we helped these workers undergo a cathartic process to let go of their thoughts and feelings. Many of the people were engineers, technicians and other front-line production workers for whom this was an extremely unusual experience! However, feedback from these sessions to management was very good.
The next stage was to work with a set of behaviours that the organisation wanted to promote in order to survive in a very competitive market. The behaviours were different from what had been expected before the cuts but, as presented, were neither memorable not persuasive. As stories tend to linger much longer in the memory than straight information, traditional and real life stories were researched around these behaviours. Senior managers then told these stories at large-scale company events.