Everyone knows a layoff is hard on workers who are let go. What’s been overlooked, however, is the toll it takes on the people who conduct the layoff — such as HR managers.
A study out of the University of Puget Sound (summarized in the Journal of Employee Assistance) followed the careers and health of 410 managers who’d been involved in layoffs. The summary: Those managers suffered from higher rates of ulcers, sleep problems and heart problems.
Some other results:
- The younger the manager, the more likely the person was to develop the problems. Researchers believe that younger managers with less experience tend to take layoff responsibilities more to heart and feel more responsible.
- Problems developed more often among managers who had been with one employer for an extended period. Likely reason: Those managers were more likely to know or be friendly with the people caught in the layoff — increasing the guilt factor among those managers.
- The phenomenon is an extended one. Many of the managers suffered from the problems for as long as six years after conducting the layoff.