When making staff redundant, effective management is crucial. Without it, you could put your corporate reputation on the line. What’s more, approaching this sensitive matter in the wrong way can negatively impact both the person being made redundant and your wider workforce.
However, there are ways you can maintain your brand image and employee morale. Here are our five tips to becoming the best ‘un-employer’ you can be.
Do it by the book
It goes without saying that you should follow the laws around making staff redundant. Unfortunately, some employers do cut corners in an attempt to streamline the process, only to find it comes back to haunt them later on. An employee could claim unfair dismissal if they feel they’ve been unduly chosen, they’ve not been offered suitable alternative work (if applicable), or the consultation procedure was not properly adhered to.
You’ll need to ensure you get the process right for each individual. Remember, redundancies can work differently depending on the employee at hand. For instance, an employer usually is only legally obliged to give redundancy pay to those who’ve worked for at least two continuous years at the business.
Back up your decision
It’s natural to take redundancy personally – many employees may not be able to rationally detach themselves from the situation. Those who’ve faced challenges while remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic (arranging childcare, for example) may feel that this is the reason they’ve been selected. To alleviate these fears and feelings, make the rationale behind the decision clear.
You should speak to those who haven’t been made redundant too. They could worry that they’re next in line, so discuss the decisions made and the future plans of the company. By doing so, it’ll provide reassurance and help to boost the confidence and self-esteem of the rest of the team.
Get communication right
On a similar note, you’ll need to prioritise great communication when it comes to the redundancy conversation. The format will be key. Ideally you would broach the subject in person, but if the circumstances don’t allow for it, opt for a video or phone call instead – whatever you think is best for the individual. The news shouldn’t come as a shock either; ensure there is some sort of team discussion around the potential for redundancies beforehand.
It’s a good idea to schedule a follow-up conversation with the employee too. They may not have taken the situation in completely the first time around, and could have questions they wish to ask. You can even create specific time slots during the week following the announcement where they can talk to you – it’s so important to be available.
The employee may make the assumption that, because you’re not going through the situation, you simply can’t understand their point of view. Especially when discussions are had virtually, it can be hard to tell if someone is truly empathetic. Therefore, you need to make it absolutely clear that you realise the severity of their redundancy.
Allow staff to express their emotions too. Whilst you shouldn’t be a victim of verbal abuse, you may find that employees get angry or upset. You can give them space to do this without it negatively impacting anyone – perhaps by allowing them to finish for the afternoon so that they have some time to process things.
When making staff redundant, ensure you’re helping them in any way you can. This could be by giving them time off to look for work. Those who’ve been employed by the business for more than two years are automatically entitled to 40% of a week’s pay to cover time off (i.e. two out of five days of the week). It will reflect well on your brand if you go further than this, or extend this to team members that don’t qualify.
You could also help them to smoothly transition to a new job through Outplacement Services. By giving advice on CVs and interviews, as well as supporting their mental wellbeing, we can enable your outgoing employees to feel more able to re-enter the job market.
We offer a range of online resources and webinars, along with the opportunity for a 1-2-1 consultation with a CV expert as well as financial advisor, all designed to allow you to better support their redundancy journey.
Through us, you can be seen as the best un-employer out there. Get in touch to find out more about our services.