Redundancy Top Tips #2

Redundancy Top Tips #2

Step 2 is the consultation process

Once you’ve made the initial announcement about why redundancies are taking place, what you have tried to do to try and avoid making redundancies and how you decided which departments and roles are at risk of redundancy, the consultation process begins. This will either be a collective consultation (where 19 or more employees within one ‘establishment’ are likely to be made redundant or individual consultations if the numbers are lower).

Obviously the number one rule is to treat those at risk of redundancy empathetically and help them navigate the deeply unsettling emotion curve. Having been there myself in the past, it can feel like a bereavement, particularly if someone has grown up in the organisation and been there a long time.   You can veer from one emotion to another – disbelief, anger, defensiveness, sadness and back again in a non-linear fashion.  This is known as the Kubler-Ross Change Curve  Kubler-Ross Change Curve.

Managers conducting redundancy consultations are often taken by surprise when an at-risk employee who came across as accepting and resigned to the news at the first meeting then shouts or cries at the second meeting. My advice is to coach each manager to understand the change curve and to provide them with the skills, tips and techniques to deal with emotion and help their team members navigate the change curve.

Check in with those ‘at risk of redundancy’ regularly, not just during formal consultation meetings.     I have often had people going through the redundancy process tell me that one of the hardest things was feeling like a leper with both leaders and colleagues actively avoiding them or stumbling over what to say.   People often don’t volunteer how they are really feeling so use open questions to try and surface any hidden concerns. Put yourself in their shoes.  What might they be worrying about?  What do you know of their personal circumstances that might be causing them additional uncertainty and stress?  Are they a new parent?  Do they have a sick partner or child? Have they recently moved house?  Ask, how are you? What can I personally do to support you?  What questions do you have that I haven’t answered for you? Is there any external support that you need?

If you have an Employee Assistance Programme make sure that they have their contact details.   You don’t need to (and nor should you!) act as a counsellor for anyone that is very emotionally disturbed about the redundancies. Signposting where they can go for specialist advice and support is the best thing you can do.

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