How negative experiences can result in positive outcomes

Posted Nov 10, 2016

In organisations, it is inevitable that there are going to be challenges and adverse events which can test the resilience and wellbeing of employees and the ability for the organisation to flourish. It is important that organisations take care of the psychological wellbeing of their employees, so that a negative experience leads to a positive outcome.

One area where employees experience a negative experience at work is when organizations make the tough decision to downsize the workforce. This not only impacts the unfortunate employees who end up losing their jobs, it also has a bearing on the employees who remain with the organization.

Employees being made redundant

For employees who are being made redundant—and let go from the organization—there can be concerns about making ends meet financially and how quickly they will be able to find another job. The knock-on effect is that people who are made redundant can suffer a loss of confidence in their abilities, as well as suffering stress and anxiety about how they will provide for their loved ones.

Employees remaining after redundancy

Employees who remain at an organization after a period of redundancies can also be negatively affected by the experience. It may be that they are reorganized into new positions, they fear another round of redundancies happening again soon, there is a loss of faith in the organization and also there can be sadness at the loss of favoured work colleagues. In turn, this can have a negative impact on the organization as a whole, where employees suffer from a loss of trust, a lack of employee engagement, lower productivity and higher levels of stress as a result of the workload increasing due to fewer resources.

A positive psychology approach to redundancy

Fortunately, there are ways from positive psychological research and application that the redundancy process can result in positive outcomes. These range from Hope Theory, resilience, strengths, compassion, appreciative inquiry and happiness. They can have a positive impact for those who are being made redundant by giving them tools to:

  • Discover their strengths and be able to bring these out in their CV and in interview
  • Boost their resilience, so that they are able to bounce back from the adversity more quickly and more effectively
  • Create hope and set compelling goals to achieve
  • Appreciate the undoubted talents that they have, to boost their self-esteem and confidence

For employees remaining with the organization a positive psychology approach can have a positive impact by:

  • Using appreciative inquiry to discover, dream, design and shape the destiny for the successful future of the organization
  • Build resilience, so that they are able to more effectively deal with stressful workloads
  • Become aware of their strengths so that they are able to be more productive and engaged in work tasks

So maybe there is a different way to approach redundancy that can lead to positive outcomes.