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Managing the redundancy process will always prove to be one of the most challenging tasks any HR professional or line manager will face. If it’s not handled with professionalism and sensitivity, it can prove to be one of the most distressing events in an employee’s career. It can also have a crippling ripple effect on morale throughout the organisation. What steps can be taken to protect all employees and limit reputational damage?
5 tips for managing redundancy:
- Know your legislation
- Communicate internally
- Prepare for press enquiries
- Get outplacement support
- Employee well-being
1. Know your legislation
Redundancy legislation and case law is incredibly complex and employers must adhere to their obligations. HR teams and line managers should ensure they fully understand employees' rights and the correct processes and procedures to follow. This will not only ensure that the process is legal but it will give all stakeholders the reassurance that they’re being treated fairly. The CIPD is a superb source of up-to-date information.
2. Internal communications matters
Always have a strong communication plan in place before any conversations take place. Larger HR functions should have access to a communication professional within their organisation to support them with this crucial task.
Ensure you have clear, consistent messaging with solid rationale and specific timescales. Be clear as to who is/isn’t aware to ensure private and confidential information is not shared ahead of an agreed deadlines. There are typically three key stakeholders to prepare communications for:
- Leadership team
- Those at risk of redundancy
- Wider organisation or colleagues
3. Prepare for press enquiries
If you’re working for a big brand or you’re placing a large volume of team members at risk of redundancy, it’s wise to pre-prepare an external media statement. This is even more relevant during the Covid pandemic as journalists are quick to give job losses national headline status.
Having an approved statement means you’ll be able to respond to media enquiries at speed and help balance any negative press coverage. A professional way to protect your employer brand in this scenario is to communicate that your organisation is working with an outplacement partner, which leads nicely to point 4.
4. Reach out for outplacement support
More HR functions within market-leading organisations are taking greater responsibility and accountability for the long-term well-being of their people by partnering with an outplacement expert. It works by inviting an expert, like RiseSmart, to support team members to find roles internally or, where that’s not possible, move into a new role externally. The partner works closely with those employees to help them secure a new and fulfilling role - typically through coaching CV writing and job concierge. Done properly, outplacement transforms a traditionally negative job loss scenario into a positive, and often career enhancing, experience. It very much protects the financial and mental well-being of those impacted in addition to protecting an organisations' employer brand.
5. Everyone’s well-being matters
The positive news is that our research shows that employers are currently doing a great job, with 76% of workers say that they feel their employers are taking care of their well-being during the Coronavirus pandemic. Employers do however have a duty of care to their team members at all stages of their career lifecycle - meaning well-being support should not cease to exist once the risk of redundancy conversations take place.
There are a number of ways HR functions can approach this:
- do not underestimate the importance of giving employees a dignified departure
- ensure those at risk know who they can speak to should they have queries or require mental health support
- encourage all colleagues to be sensitive and empathetic during this challenging period
- consider when it’s appropriate to conduct an exit interview, many outplacement partners offer this as part of their service (so the timing is more appropriate and to ensure it’s conducted via an independent party)
- make Employees Assistance Programme (EAP) schemes accessible post departure for an agreed period of time
- work with an outplacement partner who offers well-being support as part of their package.