HR Managers: How to handle the redundancy process

Nobody likes dealing with redundancy. In an ideal world the business will be communicating early with HR about changes which could mean that a redundancy process would need to be a consideration. This enables plans to be put in place, for all stakeholders to be engaged with, have input and for the HR function to come up with a well formed and thought through plan which has minimal impact on those leaving, the survivors and the business as a whole.

Reality can be very different with the business not keeping HR informed and the situation going from “we think we can get through this without the need to lose people”  to “we need to lose people now if the business is going to survive” rapidly.

As Outplacement providers we get to see the impact of how a redundancy process has been handled at very close quarters. We thought it would be useful to share what we hear the most when talking to the people we are supporting.

Your communication is never going to be good enough. From your point of view you have done everything you should to protect the business and released as much information as you could as soon as you could. Your ex-employees are trying to make sense of what just happened and feel, rightly or wrongly, if only you had told them more then it would make it easier for them to accept. They rarely hear all of the message as you intend it.

If the business hasn’t been keeping you in the loop then your front line staff probably saw this coming so it may not be as much of a shock to them as you think. Also some people want to go, they were looking anyway and were holding on for the redundancy.

The lack of control and the speed of the process, either too slow or too quick, can prove to be the most unsettling.

When you talk about the role being made redundant not the individual that’s not what they hear. They only hear “Redundant” and personalise it.

Don’t underestimate the need to give the individuals a dignified final exit.

Mark the occasion –ask the leavers what they want to do, be proactive and provide the space and time for people to say goodbye properly. If you can find someone brave enough from Senior Management to come along and say thanks to those who are going it will make a difference. We hear this more times than you think.

Don’t try and do exit interviews or ask them to join the alumni until you know they have found alternative employment and then not for at least another 3 months. Time is a healer.

The amount of any redundancy payments is less likely to be an issue, the more emotive parts of the process are far more likely to cause an ex-employee to share their views and thoughts on Glassdoor and Facebook.

Most people are reasonablCareer Coaching and Outplacement programmese and if they are kept informed, treated fairly and with dignity whilst they are not going to like the fact their role has been made redundant they will accept that it was necessary. Treating your employees as well as on the way out as you did on the way in, can be the difference between a disgruntled ex-employee and a brand ambassador.

Providing the right level of Outplacement support can help those transitioning into a new role and also reassures those still in the business that you are doing your best to look after them.

For more information on our Outplacement Services please contact us on 01753 888995.