How to Manage Redundancies in the Workplace


Businesses across the world are suffering the effects of the coronavirus crisis, and for many business owners and managers there may come the difficult decision to make redundancies in order to keep the business afloat. It’s crucial that the redundancy process is followed carefully and properly, and not just sped through in order to quickly regain some form of normality.

Redundancies in the workplace can cause uncertainty for both the staff and the business itself, and so it’s important to consider three different aspects of the process. The first is the procedure; ensuring you have a timeline in place and what measures you will follow to make the redundancies as smooth and pain-free as possible.

The second is the operational side; how will you identify the roles for redundancy, and how will you notify the individuals?

The third aspect is the human, emotional impact. Behind each role is a person, with financial commitments and a lifestyle to maintain, who will no doubt feel uncertain and anxious. Failing to manage this aspect can have the biggest impact.

The impact of redundancies

In many cases, making redundancies can impact productivity amongst those who aren’t part of the redundancy programme. It can affect your entire workforce, but when the redundancy process is managed effectively, you can minimise the impact.

There can be various pitfalls along the way when making someone redundant, through either rushing the process or getting communication wrong. With that in mind, here are some top tips to help you manage redundancies.

Don’t rush it

It can be easy to think that the redundancy process is a quick one, but it’s also a mistake. Consider carefully which roles are still fundamental to the future of the business, and which ones have become less so. Once this is set in stone, take the time to prepare.

Consider the best way to announce the redundancies and the timeline for the process. If you announce too hastily without a plan, it may make others in the business uneasy.

Put people first

It’s so important to make sure that the staff you are making redundant have the opportunity to leave on the best possible terms. Consider if there is anyone who doesn’t want to stay at the business, as this could reduce your number of compulsory redundancies.

Reach out and reassure those who aren’t affected, as well as those who will be. It’s important to be able to tailor your support, and offer any guidance you can to help them make their next step a positive one.

Review your communication skills

It’s vital to make sure you have considered people’s feelings and individual circumstances when it comes to having those difficult conversations. Think about your messaging, as this can help to avoid bad feelings or resentment in the long run.

Restructuring is never easy, and this rings even more true in the aftermath of Covid-19. It’s important to make it clear to your staff why the redundancies are taking place, and how you plan to move forward and learn from the experience. Sometimes, even just acknowledging a bad situation can resonate with your staff and make a difference to how they take the news.

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