5 Steps to Managing Redundancies Successfully

The Most Difficult HR Task is Dismissing Employees

Being the bearer of bad news can be just as difficult as the person receiving bad news.

HR leaders routinely say that telling an employee they’re being laid off or fired is the task they fear the most. As Laurence J. Stybel, a career management and board adviser said in the Harvard Business Review, “Nobody ever got promoted because they fire well. But your career can get sidetracked if you don’t treat people in a dignified way.”

It just goes to show the delicate balance between getting the redundancy process right or wrong. Everyone in the organisation will be watching closely how the process develops and one wrong move could potentially land your business on the front page of the news for all the wrong reasons.

However, being a business or HR leader, making tough redundancy decisions and dismissals are part of the job. With the many challenges businesses face in today’s economic climate, redundancies are becoming more prevalent. 

Don’t let a poorly planned/handled redundancy process hurt your career and damage your company’s reputation. For a more successful, effective, and positive redundancy process, here are the steps you need to take when managing redundancies:

Step 1: Preparation of the Process

Assess your business’ financial situation and identify which areas of your operations are surplus to requirement. If redundancies can be avoided that would be the best for all parties, but if not start preparing the necessary documentation and move on to the next step.

Step 2: Fair Selection

After identifying the areas of change and selecting the person/people for redundancy it is vital to ensure the process is fair. You may have a pool of people to select from, but all decisions must be objective and strictly made based on the business. This may be based on the employee’s capability, skills, competence, experience, attitude, disciplinary records, etc.

Step 3: Be Clear About the Situation & the Role

Redundancies happen when a role at a company is no longer required. When a position is deemed no longer necessary the employee is usually laid off. Clearly explain to the employee that the position is being made redundant and that it is not a reflection of the employee.

Employees will be more accepting of the fact that it is not them but rather the businesses’ need to restructure which has caused the displacement. It can be a difficult time for employees and emotions can run high. A clear explanation and the necessary information should be provided to the employee regarding the situation. Be prepared to answer any questions they may ask to make it easier for them.

Step 4: Show Empathy

This is a distressing time for everyone. Losing regular income can cause fear, especially if the individual has a family, a mortgage, and outstanding bills. Be prepared for the emotional responses the employee may exhibit and train yourself to manage the anger, shock, and resistance you may encounter.

Show empathy for the displaced employees and give them a sense that this was not a simple decision for your business either. The last thing you want as a business leader is for an angry employee to tell friends, family, and associates about the lack of compassion from management and how cold-hearted the people are at the company. This will damage your company’s reputation and hurt your chances of hiring future talent. 

When possible, it’s best to offer choices. This may be in the form of alternative employment opportunities within the company or a voluntary redundancy option.

Step 5: Offer Additional Support for Departing Employees

Redundancies can shake a business to its core. The impacts of the changes won’t just experience instantaneously but can last for years down the line. Restructuring the team will inevitably affect the chemistry of the company, you could be breaking strong bonds and affecting the synergy between employees, which is essential for a successful business.

The whole process will be watched by every person associated with the company. Implementing an outplacement service and partnering with specialists is a great way to help both the displaced employee and also the employer as it helps uphold good morale in the remaining staff.

Retrenched employees will be connected to new opportunities, allowed to re-evaluate their careers, and feel positive about their future. It also shows that your company truly values its employees which is crucial to brand protection. This will help your company negate the long-term financial impacts of brand erosion, offering a perfect win-win solution!

Looking to restructure your business? Protect your company brand and transition employees to new opportunities with Links’ Outplacement Programme. Learn more about the service by contacting our team now!

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