Although it might not be the most pleasant thing to talk about, there may come a time where redundancy at your firm becomes necessary, and although they’ll never be a nice thing to be involved with, there’s no need for the process to be gruelling. It’s also important to remember that redundancies become necessary for all sorts of reasons, not just as a result of business failure; changes in the way the industry operates or an organisational restructure are two other factors that can trigger redundancies.
Here are 10 quick tips for decision-makers when it comes to redundancies:
# 1. Look for alternatives
In all likelihood redundancies won’t have been your first choice when thinking about solving your organisation’s problem, but looking carefully for alternatives is important. Make sure you’re transparent and open with your employees, and listen to any ideas they have on the matter; the cut(s) could well be avoidable.
# 2. Keep it formal
Although it might be tempting to avoid the uncomfortable nature of formal proceedings, it could land you in hot water. Redundancy proceedings bring with them a significant amount of risks for organisations, so although it isn’t necessary to deal with employees coldly, make sure you stay by the book.
# 3. Plan
This means before redundancies and afterwards. It might seem like the hard part is finished after job cuts have been announced, however you need to be thinking about how the organisation will look afterwards; will it be a balanced and effective machine in the aftermath?
# 4. Do the figures
Long standing employees in particular may be eligible for financial payments, so work out the costs involved here, as well as any outside consulting fees and extra work needed during this period.
# 5. Be fair
The criteria for selection should be objective and fair – this is very important when dealing with a large group of employees that have a similar skillset – and if possible agreed with employees and their representatives beforehand.
# 6. Don’t discriminate
This might sound like an obvious one that goes without saying, but things like age, race, sex and sexual orientation should never come into any redundancy proceedings. This also applies to ‘accidental’ discrimination, for example ‘last in first out’ sometimes equates to age discrimination.
# 7. Inform and Consult
Inform and consult refers to the employer’s duty to discuss redundancies with employees. The way this works depends on the size and structure of the organisation, but it usually consists of individual consultation over short time frame or a formal collective consultation over 90 days or longer.
# 8. Finding new work
Try and help employees find new work if you can, either internally in a different role which may involve retraining, in the same group, for a customer or supplier or simply doing a good job of referencing and recommending staff elsewhere.
# 9. Look after ‘survivors’
Make sure there are resources made available to those employees who are still in work at the organisation; they might be as negatively affected by the redundancies as those who have left, particularly if teams have been divided.
# 10. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your internal HR function, other colleagues, business contacts or outside consultants. The cost of making a mistake during redundancy procedures is likely to be a lot higher than consulting fees or taking time out to speak to someone in the know.
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