If you need to make staff redundant, if you manage it well, you will get immense satisfaction from a job well done, as well as knowing that those affected will be in the best possible place to get their lives and careers back on track. Manage the project badly and you may find yourself responsible for a lot of ill feeling, upset and negativity. That’s quite some responsibility, but success all too often rests in the planning ahead of announcement date – get that right and you’re more than half way there.
1. Get the paperwork right. You need to ensure you have evidence of company communications about numbers, reasons, process etc, letters to staff about consultation meetings, opportunities to submit their ideas etc.
2. Treat those staff you are likely to lose like human beings! Treat them badly and that could be the undoing of your business in years to come when you seek to regain your reputation as an employer people want to apply to.
3. Identify those managers who are likely to make a ‘pig’s ear’ of meetings! Better to choose managers who can demonstrate empathy and consideration than those who will brutally follow a procedure with the sole intention of getting the employee out the door.
4. Keep lawyers behind the scenes. Lawyer ‘talk’ often escalates conflict rather than diffuses it. Make any legal letters human, with feelings and consideration. Take legal advice but do not allow lawyers to dictate the way in which you do the redundancies.
5. Look after your managers and HR team involved as this process is emotionally draining and they will need to be supported throughout.
6. Fail to plan and produce a proper time plan for what you will do and when. This will ensure everything is managed as fairly and appropriately as possible during a difficult time.
7. Think that consultation is a waste of time. Your employees may have some great ideas both about how this process is handled and also about how you might support those who are losing their jobs. Give some consideration to the ideas put forward, even if that delays your plans by a few days.
8. Ignore or fail to explain if you find yourself with a communications leak. Staff want to and need to be informed so go out of your way to ensure they do not feel you are playing games behind their backs.
9. Ignore any grievances raised during the redundancy consultation process as you decide their grievance will be irrelevant as they are about to leave you. You still need to investigate and deal with grievances properly otherwise they might come back to haunt you.
10. Forget staff representatives if you are making sufficient numbers of staff redundant. Staff reps needs to be elected, not nominated by you and they need to be trained so that they can do their job properly.
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