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Been Made Redundant? Why The Stigma May No Longer Exist
July 20, 2021

It goes without saying that being made redundant isn’t on anyone’s to-do list. Whether it’s happened to you, or you know someone who’s been through it – the negative stigma is there. But since 2020, redundancy is no longer as catastrophic. So, what’s changing people’s minds?

The pandemic turned being made redundant from a relatively uncommon incident to an everyday occurrence almost overnight. And as a result, a more transparent understanding of the implications has formed.

Here, we’ve highlighted possible reasons for the negative perception of redundancy, and explained why the stigma may no longer exist.

The old stigma

When the R-word begins to circulate around the workplace, it’s usually followed by collective anxiety. Clarity and communication around who, when, and why can be sparse. This isn’t helped by the fact that legally, a business has to consult with everyone on the same level before deciding who will be made redundant, so to be told you’re at risk without knowing if it’s definitive is very stressful. And even if you were to ask your manager, who you would naturally turn to for concrete answers, you could find they’re as much in the dark as you are.

If you’ve ever been made redundant or placed at direct risk, then you may have experienced feeling:

  • Inferior and irrelevant
  • Unskilled and not good enough
  • Lonely and lacking in confidence
  • Unwanted and disposable

But these are all inward-looking and self-blaming thoughts that only fuel the stigma. In reality, redundancy is the cause of outward-facing issues affecting the business, and completely void of individual blame. These could include:

  • A volatile industry
  • Financial problems
  • A new business model
  • Changes in management

Such conditions often call for restructuring, as demand for certain departments increases or decreases. As a result, redundancies occur through no fault of the individual employees, and regardless of skill set, attendance record and behaviour. Yet even then, there’s a stigma in place that makes it difficult for those affected to bounce back. But in recent times many have been asking, is redundancy really all that bad?

The new normal

Let’s not downplay the situation. For many, redundancy remains an undesirable scenario to be faced with, so dismissing it entirely wouldn’t be fair. Over the course of the pandemic however, the reality of being made redundant has been so common in certain sectors (such as retail and hospitality) that opinions have started to change.

This triggered an all-in-this-together mantra, which has given rise to increased communication and a deeper understanding of the implications and options at play. And for many, the diluted stigma around the subject allowed for greater transparency over the real reasons behind such decisions.

What’s more, this new outlook on a previously sensitive topic has led to a more proactive approach to life after redundancy. Lockdown has given many people time to reconsider their prospects and goals. So, perhaps redundancy could actually turn out to be the ideal moment to review your career direction, ambitions and future.

Support from Outplacement Services

Of course, every position is unique. One person’s experience of redundancy could be completely different to someone else’s. But hopefully, a less stigmatised view on the matter should make things easier to digest moving forward.

Whether you’re leaning towards a different career path or keen to get back in the same saddle, Outplacement Services are here to help. From practical job-searching skills to emotional and mental preparation, our webinars, 1-2-1 consultations and other resources will smooth the transition into your new role.

Our services are also open to employers wanting to support outgoing staff in similar scenarios. To find out more, reach out to our friendly team on 0203 805 7020 or email hello@outplacement.services.

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