The word redundancy is generally not synonymous with good times, and is a stressful situation from both an employer and employee perspective.

Managing this difficult situation effectively is always a challenge, as the wildcard in the situation is human emotion, and we can never be sure how people will react to a redundancy announcement.

Unfortunately there is no template for management best practice for the delivery of a redundancy announcement. However, there are actions an employer can take in anticipation to minimise the negative impact of such an announcement.

First and foremost, recognise you are dealing with human beings.

I read a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald titled, A redundant approach to redundancies,’ which characterised a once valuable manager, who had become a threat to the organisation following a poorly handled redundancy process.

The wildcard in this situation is human emotion; all of your employees will react differently to a redundancy announcement. Be aware of their sensitivities and accommodate them. Be honest, transparent and consistent in your explanation as to the reason(s) for the redundancy. Even though it’s a difficult message to deliver, if you manage it according to these principles you will earn respect.

Secondly, it is important to plan for the event.

Identify all of the issues which need to be addressed and develop plans to manage each of them. In my experience, planning is an essential part of the process. There are many issues that will require management, some of which are:

  • The media;
  • Impact on the organisation’s brand;
  • Safeguarding of organisation assets;
  • Employee health and safety;
  • Obtaining accurate payout quotes from payroll;
  • The physical process of separation;
  • Arranging for outplacement support;
  • Employee assistance program (EAP) support; and
  • Legal requirements.

A competent manager with a well thought out plan will have addressed all of these issues. Still, the conversation is always challenging. Just don’t lose sight of the fact you are dealing with someone’s future and treat them as you would wish to be treated if you were receiving the information; with dignity and respect.

If you are the one being made redundant, the best thing you can do initially, is not panic. Making quick decisions when under stress is not recommended. Discuss the situation with family and trusted friends. Make them aware of the situation, what support services have been offered, and how you are feeling. Do not think you have to carry the burden of the redundancy on your own.

If you do discuss the situation with family and trusted friends you will generally receive plenty of support and constructive ideas of where to turn for help. Ensure you make use of any professional services such as financial planning, outplacement, and EAP assistance which the organisation has made available.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an employer or an employee, redundancy can be difficult to manage on your own. To find out how we can help lessen the burden, contact us today.