Dealing with Redundancy: A Psychological Approach
Patrick Psaila
November 19, 2020

Main Points from Live Broadcast with Fran Moisa, Head Hunter & Talent Advisor.

Watch the full broadcast on:

As an Employee:

  • Be prepared – ask your leaders/managers about the current situation and how it is impacting the business. Ask whether there are any redundancies on the horizon.
  • If you are made redundant without prior preparation of a consultancy meeting, push for such a meeting to happen. Explain your financial situation and ask the following types of questions:
    - The exact reason why you are being made redundant.
    - Whether all other options have been explored – redeployment to other departments, reduced hours, pay cut, etc.
  • Whether you can be provided with a financial buffer to support you until you find alternative work.
  • If there is no other option, make sure you get a good reference letter.
  • Always leave on good terms with your employer. Burning your bridges will only work against you.
  • Review your financial resources and try to find new ways of making money and reducing costs, at least temporarily.
  • Redundancy is like any other type of significant loss. You will go through typical phases of grief and this is normal and important.
  • Reach out to your family, friends, and community. Do not try to hide it as if it is something to be ashamed of.
  • Seek some form or career coaching or counselling to help you with your job search and support you along the process.
  • Look for financial advice on how you can manage your finances in the best possible way.
  • Spread the word that you are now available on the job market, use LinkedIn, recruitment agencies and all other contacts you may have to help you find employment.
  • Find support from other people who are going through the same struggle. Use internet-based resources to help you with this phase.
  • Use this time to invest in activities like, building your personal brand, learning new skills that are in demand, and exploring new opportunities.
  • Stay healthy! Make sure you eat well, exercise, rest and get all the emotional support that you need.

As a Leader:

  • Make sure you have explored and considered all other alternatives before resorting to making staff redundant. Some of these may be (you may need to agree with your employees to update their employment contract):
    - Voluntary redundancy or early retirement
    - Flexible working arrangements
    - Reduced hours or a four-day week
    - Job sharing
    - Redeployment to other departments
    - Stopping overtime
    - Reducing external recruitment or consultancy agreements
    - Making savings in other areas of the business
    - Adding vacation leave in return to a reduction in salary
  • If you need to make redundancies, make them as humane a process as possible by:
    - Carrying out a proper and meaningful consultation with the affected employees.
    - Allowing time for the employees to respond to the redundancy with their “case”.
    - Allowing employees time off to look for work and helping them find alternative employment.
    - Considering a settlement agreement.
  • Remember that redundancies do not only impact the people who are made redundant but also those who are not. Be honest about the possibility of further redundancies. Keep employees informed about how the business is doing and be there to reply to the worries and concerns they may have.
  • Communicate and be as transparent as possible. Be clear about the situation and the reasons. Plan what you are going to say and prepare answers to potentially difficult questions.
  • Prepare yourself to be emotionally available to deal with the employees’ reaction in an empathic, compassionate, and professional way.
  • Make sure you respect the employee’s dignity and make sure the news is delivered in privacy. Allow space for the employee to react.
  • Be ready to offer support to your employees through:
    - Counselling
    - Additional face to face meetings
    - Help in getting financial advice

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