Why staff at collapsed Thomas Cook may need support from new employers

Thomas Cook.
Thomas Cook.
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Following the sad news of the closure of Thomas Cook, Peterborough’s community is severely affected.

Not only was Thomas Cook one of the largest employers in the city, but those employees, first and foremost, are people and such a significant change in this area of their life, can have a wide ranging impact, writes Clare Eager of PeopleHR.

Clare Eager of PeopleHR.

Clare Eager of PeopleHR.

Most Peterborough residents cannot fail to have noticed the outpouring of support that has been shown for those employees affected. Support includes businesses offering discounted trade services as finances could now be stretched, to beauty treatments to help those affected receive some physical relief and pampering.

There is the setting up of Facebook group and LinkedIn support area, where ex-employees can go to get support, both physical and emotional, from others who are in a similar situation, or from people who want to help.

There are also many Peterborough businesses who are organising events to help those affected find alternative employment. From individual companies holding recruitment open days, to recruitment agencies holding CV and interview masterclasses and the City Council co-ordinating smaller organisations also wanting to help.

However, there is a great deal for ex-employees to come to terms with, beginning with how did this happen to me? The choice of this change of employer was taken away from the individuals and amongst many emotions, there could be resentment and fear going forward. They are going to need time, support and acknowledgement. Every person will deal with the situation differently to the next, because everyone is individual and their reaction and response will vary.

For some, it will be too soon to start looking for a new role, but personal circumstances may not allow them the luxury of taking time out to adjust to their change of situation and therefore that unfinished emotion will be brought into their new place of work.

I’m encouraging new employers of ex-Thomas Cook employees to think longer term about integrating them into their new roles and with their new colleagues. The standard induction programme may not be suitable in this instance, and adaptations and flexibility may need to be made. On going support through an employee assistance programme could also be an important mechanism for people who may not want to publicise their need for support.

There is not a short-term fix to this incredibly sad situation, but there is clearly a long term desire by the Peterborough community to support its people through its businesses.