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Redundancy Management: How To Get Your Words Right
September 3, 2020

The conversation. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of redundancy management. All it takes is some poorly chosen words, and the whole situation is made worse.

However, you can say the right thing when it comes to announcing redundancy – that is, if you know what not to say. Join us as we go through a few common phrases to avoid.

“You’re being made redundant”

At first glance, this might seem like a perfectly legitimate sentence to say. But repeat it: you’re being made redundant. This isn’t correct – it’s the role that’s no longer needed. By wording it in this way, not only might you come across as ignorant, but the employee could take it as a personal rejection too.

Instead, always speak about the redundancy in relation to the job position. Talk about the business reasons for this transition, as well as the wider organisational changes that may also happen. This will minimise any risk to your reputation as an employer.

“Don’t get upset”

It’s only natural to feel sad in this situation. You yourself may find it distressing, especially if this is your first experience of redundancy management. So be prepared for a range of feelings to arise, and don’t at any point tell your employee not to show their emotions – it’ll come across as unsympathetic and will affect how they perceive you and the business.

On the other side of the coin, don’t let yourself be a punching bag either. It’s fair for them to feel angry, but they shouldn’t take it out on you. If you think their emotions are getting out of control, then suggest a solution: time off to process what’s happened can give them some much-needed breathing room.

“Look on the bright side”

Being made redundant isn’t the worst thing in the world, but in the moment, it can certainly feel like it. This is especially true in the current climate, where COVID-19 has triggered a tougher job market. So again, empathise with your team member in the redundancy management process.

Even if there are positives to take from the conversation, like the fact that your redundancy package could be considered a good deal, it’s often hard to see the good when you’ve just been told such bad news. Whilst you should make sure any positives are mentioned, avoid suggesting that the employee should be grateful in any way.

“Keep this quiet”

Although this sort of news may negatively impact employee morale, you can’t expect outgoing team members not to talk about it. Firstly, it’s unfair on them – they need the support of their colleagues. Essentially forbidding them from seeking this support won’t reflect well on your brand.

Secondly, word can get around fast with situations like these, leading to untrue rumours and even worse morale. It might be best to ask the outgoing employee how they want to handle this, but if you want to tell remaining employees yourself, then it’s a good idea to do so within a few hours – not days.

“I’ll think of some ways to help”

The outgoing team member may have lots of questions, and it’s understandable if you can’t answer all of these right away. Whilst you should plan for a variety of queries in the run-up to the meeting, be prepared to face some you simply would never have expected.

In some cases, you will be able to say that you’ll go away and find out the answer for them, but there is one topic that you need to be absolutely clear on from the start: the types of support available. This is absolutely crucial to have in place before the conversation – saying you’ll think of some ways to help will put your creditibility into question. You should know how to help.

And for such support, you can provide Outplacement Services. These are designed to enable you to make their journey to a new job as smooth as possible. With modules including mindset and wellbeing, job search and interview advice, you’ll be able to attend redundancy notification meetings with the right support already in place. To learn more, speak to our team today.

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