Dealing with redundancies is challenging at any time of year let alone in the run up to Christmas. However, it’s a very common time of year for redundancies and if you or your managers need to be the bearer of bad news in the next few weeks, then you may find the following tips helpful.
Stick to the book
It’s essential to strictly follow legal requirements to reduce opportunities for conflict and any unfair dismissal or discrimination claims which could be time consuming, expensive and damaging to relationships. This includes appropriate consultations with the staff, trade union or employee representatives and the consideration of alternatives to compulsory redundancy which could include offering voluntary redundancy or alternative roles, recruitment freezes or reduced hours. You must be able to provide fair and objective criteria for the selection of staff for redundancy as the basis for the redundancy decision.
It’s helpful to signal to staff and managers well in advance that there may be risks to jobs rather than keeping quiet until the decision is made. This enables managers to look creatively at their departmental spend and work streams to see if changes could be made that reduces the need for redundancies. It also means that some staff may start proactively looking for a new job and then leave a vacancy that can then be filled by a staff member who would otherwise have been displaced.
Separate the business decision and your personal relationship
When you are communicating the news about a redundancy try to depersonalise it as much as possible so that the individual does not see it as a critique of their value, but as part of a bigger picture about what the organisation needs. This also enables you to express your support for them as an individual even if they disagree with the decision.
Where possible allow the staff member to do a proper handover, letting them tie up loose ends, complete things they may have started and helping them to feel they’ve discharged their responsibilities rather than abandoned them. This will enable a far smoother allocation of the work elsewhere and allows the individual to disengage psychologically from the organisation.
Use your emotional intelligence
Individuals will all react differently to being told their roles are being made redundant. Some will be confused, angry, accepting or even in denial. They are more likely to deal with this constructively if you treat them with respect and empathy and show that you want to be supportive. Thank them for their hard work, listen to them patiently, and find ways to boost their self-esteem as their confidence is likely to have taken a knock.
Practical outplacement support
Individuals greatly appreciate the opportunity for outplacement support. It helps with both the emotional and practical challenges of finding a new role and offers a structured process for helping them with their career transition. In making sure that the staff who are leaving are well treated, the organisation also protects its reputation and the engagement levels and morale of the remaining staff. The outplacement support can be provided as part of their personal exit agreement to be taken outside of the organisation on a 1-1 basis, alternatively, workshops or career coaching sessions can be provided onsite during their notice period.
Personal Career Management are the UK’s leading outplacement and career coaching provider and offer a variety of outplacement programmes typically ranging from £500-£5000. We work with organisations as diverse as Buckingham Palace, Grant Thornton, Capital One, Honda, United Nations, Age UK, Brent Council, Chanel, Royal College of Psychiatrists, NHS Trusts, Government departments, Universities and Colleges.
If you would like to find out more about our outplacement or career coaching programmes then please give us a call on 01753 888 995 or contact us via our online contact form.
We also provide specialist career coaching and outplacement programmes for Directors.