What I’ve learned about redundancies throughout my HR career
Redundancies are never easy decisions for business to make, but sometimes they can be the difference between a business surviving or not. It’s no surprise therefore, that the coronavirus outbreak has put huge financial pressure on businesses, and many are facing very difficult decisions related to their people.
Even with support measures in place from the Government, like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, some businesses have ceased operations altogether while others are looking at whether they can maintain their current headcount on a long-term basis due to a downturn in cash flow.
Experts have predicted a hike in redundancies over the coming weeks and months, putting millions of jobs at risk as the CJRS is wound down. So I’ve taken some time to think and reflect on my own experiences with redundancies over my career in HR, in the hope that it could help other professionals navigate what is an extremely trying and taxing time; not only in your career but also because of the emotional rollercoaster that exists for all concerned.
Communication is key
Making redundancies is difficult, irrespective of the circumstances, but it becomes much harder when many businesses were likely planning for major growth in 2020 to now have the challenge of deciding if this growth can be achieved or if it has to be delayed.
What is crucial is that people understand why the business is having to make the changes. Too often we can use language that is business speak and people can easily become confused because they don’t fully understand the message. Ensure that you build a clear and simple message to help explain the rationale for the company changes. Alongside this, make sure that anyone delivering the message does so consistently. This might be achieved by using scripts for managers to follow. You will find that employees respond better to a direct and honest explanation rather than an overcomplicated inconsistent message which can fuel feelings of resentment, mistrust and anxiety.
Whether expected or sudden, redundancy can cause huge uncertainty, stress and anxiety. It can make existing mental health problems worse for those employees who are impacted by the changes, but also uncertainty and “survival guilt” for those colleagues who are not impacted and who need to carry on with their jobs.
It’s emotional for everyone but I have found that compassionate leadership and showing empathy to your people helps convey the message that the changes are not personal. Always give enough time to be able to listen and understand their issues. Let employees know that the door is always open and there’s always someone available to answer any questions they may have. I have always prepared contact details of support groups such as Able Futures, Simply Health, Citizens Advice and there are a plethora of support agencies and professionals who can help and guide individuals. However, don’t fall into the trap of trying to solve their problems; we don’t always have all the answers.
There are many firms that are now in a position where redundancies are unavoidable and each day the news seems to inform us of more job cuts. For those impacted, this is leading to much uncertainty and confusion around what support is available to them.
Being seen to provide quality support to departing employees can also help manage the process with those remaining employees. I’ve found it beneficial in the past to provide information on available services to help employees focus positively on the next steps and help them move quickly back into new opportunities.
Learning Curve Group have developed a free redundancy support package for businesses who have been impacted by an organisational restructure. It is an opportunity to offer to employees who are at risk of redundancy and help them upskill or start a career in a new sector; strengthening their CV for free. I’ve asked our sales team for some info on it, in case it would be of interest, and popped details below; or you can get in touch with my colleague Lee Hill (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will be more than happy to have a chat, no obligations.
What is LCG’s Redundancy Support Package?
LCG’s redundancy support package offers your colleagues a rounded back-to-work plan through the completion of a crucial Employability Skills programme which will help with; interview techniques, CV writing, how to search online for jobs and completing those important application forms.
Upon completing their employability training, they will move on to a Level 2 in their chosen field. With over 40 qualifications to choose from there’s a course for everyone. The programme will be remote learning and can be completed in 3-5 days and all employees will be provided with training, support, feedback and guidance in order for them to find suitable employment.
And, it’s fully managed by our team of advisers which means you can concentrate on the other important things, leaving the organisation of training to us. Your employees will begin by selecting their course through a microsite branded to your business and we’ll take it from there, making contact to get them signed up.
This is a fantastic opportunity and one which could really make a difference to your people.