The trauma of redundancy is very well documented. Most of us, if we haven’t experienced it ourselves, will know someone who has.
It rightly has a reputation as one of the lowest points of a person’s career and the amount of help available to individuals reflects this.
What we don’t hear about as often is the negativity that affects businesses and employers who are losing labour and colleagues because of redundant roles.
The first casualties of redundancy are always the employees themselves and the last thing someone who has just lost their job wants to hear is patronising accounts of how tough the process is for employers, but redundancy is a two-way affair.
Redundancies, however common they have become, is usually considered a last resort. Your staff are your company’s most valuable asset and when the objective of a business is to ensure growth and development, the last thing an employer wants is a depleted workforce.
To avoid redundancies, planning is key...
Planning and management is the key to avoiding redundancies in any business. Forming a solid, well researched strategy for realistic human resource management should help your business to perform consistently within its means.
- Consider your business’ labour requirements and its realistic potential for growth
- If your business is experiencing a successful period at present, be realistic about how long it will last and how long certain roles will be valid
- A manpower plan can, in turn, increase your staff’s job security and will allow your business to avoid short term solutions. (i.e. bringing in large scale cuts when business is down and recruiting again when things improve).
Needless to say, business is unpredictable and there are times when cuts have to be made. Incorporating a manpower plan within a business strategy may well ensure that these cuts are gradual and rare. Drastic re-shaping of an organisation’s workforce is undesirable, owing to adverse effects on company performance as well as on staff morale.
In the event that redundancies have to be made, employers have a legal obligation to consult with staff. During this process give careful consideration to the alternative solutions imposed by affected employees. For example, employees may ask:
- Whether there are any options for redeployment
- For a temporary reduction of working hours/days
- To sacrifice certain benefits on a temporary basis.
All of which can be financially sensible options for an employer to consider.
Consider your reputation
The way organisations treat their staff is a measure of them as an employer and it is good practice to do as much as you can to help staff affected by redundancy. How you deal with the process can have a positive or negative effect on your reputation as well as the moral of those left behind, which in turn can influence productivity and profits in the long-term.
Although you are required to consult formally with staff regarding redundancy, where possible it is advisable to allow as much time as possible for those at risk to seek out new work, give them assistance if possible and it may even be feasible to provide access to professional counselling to those who require it.
Though the amount of steps involved with redundancy can make the process seem like a very delicate and difficult to go through for an employer, there is a great deal of help available.