The images of shell-shocked employees clutching boxes of belongings as they moved out of Lehman Brothers' Canary Wharf offices last month on the day the investment bank went bust further brought home the realities of the current economic crisis.
With a further half a million UK jobs predicted to be axed next year, according to estimates from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), businesses should be quick to realise that, now more than ever, keeping talented employees feeling motivated and committed to the job in hand is a must.
Anthony Surley, former talent manager at outsourcing firm Emcor, speaks for most when he tells Personnel Today: "With high-profile company names plastered all over the news, staff will naturally be concerned about what it means for their job. They will also be worried that, if problems did arise [and they faced redundancy], would there be as many opportunities in the job market?"
Perhaps the good news for employers is that anxious staff won't necessarily become demotivated, according to Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD. "They might even put in a stronger presence so that if there are redundancies, they can be seen to be keeping their head down," he says.
The challenge for bosses, Emmott believes, is more centred on keeping those that remain in their jobs engaged. "It's not just about the impact on the people that go, it's also the impact on the people that stay," he says. "If there are any job cuts, as we've seen in the finance and construction industries, the answer to keeping the remaining staff motivated is to treat the workers that are going well."
He lists retraining, help with finding a new job, awarding financial compensation and the level of honesty shown when redundancies are announced as some of the key factors that will influence how much the staff who stay behind will still trust their employer.
Sara Edwards, HR and change director at fashion retailer Liberty, believes that employees, who may feel increasingly concerned about the impact the credit crunch is having on their jobs, will need reassurance th