Team requirements change as organisations evolve. Whatever industry you’re in, the time will come when you need to make some adjustments to your team structure.
This is never a fun time for those affected. Redundancy is a necessity to ensure the viability and sustainability of a business as its needs change. However, imparting that necessity to someone who is being made redundant is unlikely to turn them into keen advocates for their own job loss.
Redundancy doesn’t need to be an awful experience. It’s possible to get it right, and ensure that employees are given the greatest opportunity possible to adapt to their new circumstances and survive the transition out of their role.
The Redundancy Checklist
Follow this checklist to ensure that your staff get a fair go when it comes time to make some redundant. There are only four basic components, and it’s critical to ensure you don’t skip any.
The checklist is designed to ensure that the redundancy process is as painless as possible for all parties involved. It will never be a pain-free experience, but it’s important to reduce the impact as much as possible.
Meet with those members of staff who may be affected by restructuring and redundancies and let them know what lies ahead. Even if things are not concrete, it’s important to provide notice so that they can get their headspace in the right place.
Document the time and date of each meeting, and note what was discussed. This may come in handy later.
The consultation phase is an employee’s opportunity to ask questions and potentially offer alternatives. Be prepared to face some resentment, particularly if you don’t have adequate answers to their questions.
To avoid this, prepare ahead of time and be firm in the reasons for the employee’s redundancy. The employee may request to explore other avenues that don’t involve them facing unemployment.
If you’re open to the idea, be prepared to discuss retraining and redeployment within the organisation, job sharing, reduced hours, salary adjustments, benefit reductions and more. Depending on the reason for the redundancy, many employees will be prepared to negotiate in order to retain their job.
If the decision is final, then you need to proceed to the next step as soon as possible. Give your employee adequate notice, and do so in writing. You may need to investigate local legislation or look into the National Employment Standards to determine the requisite notice period for redundancy.
Providing notice, whether or not the employee actually serves that out or simply receives pay for the period, is the right thing to do. Not only does it end that employee’s ties with your organisation in a fair manner, but it also sends a positive message to your remaining employees.
Letting an employee go is never an easy decision. Sure, some aspects of the redundancy process can make it easy to justify – particularly if they’re let go as part of a restructuring process that helps your organisation retain the roles of other people.
When you’ve followed the checklist and let someone go with adequate warning, consultation and notice, the next step is the most important. Move on. Focus on your team, and do what it takes to get past the redundancy and whatever caused it.
Don’t allow your team to question their own longevity with the organisation, and if they do, provide reasonable, honest reassurances about their importance and relevance to future operations.