Times have been hard for businesses of all types, shapes and sizes over the last few months, and with the support available beginning to change, lessen and in some cases end, analysts and consultants all over the country are predicting redundancies and company restructures on mass scales. If your business is one of the affected who will be making job losses, then read on: there’s lots of ways you can go the extra mile to protect and support your workforce through these changes.
Acknowledge The Difficulty
Even being placed ‘at risk’ of redundancy is stressful – and unless everyone of that status is vying for Voluntary Redundancy (VR), it’s not going to be pleasant to say goodbye to valued staff who don’t want to leave. Businesses have a tendency to view restructures and redundancies in purely technical terms, and whilst it’s true that this must be a business decision, there’s a human element that cannot be ignored. It’s important that those managing others acknowledge how distressing a period this can be and that people are listened to and valued as and when they need.
It is imperative that communication channels remain open and honest through all stages of the redundancy process. Individuals affected may react differently to they would usually due to stress, and conversations may be difficult – but it’s important that they still happen. Redundancy has the potential to affect much more than just someone’s profession and so communication must remain personal and personable.
Support ALL Involved Parties
While of course those being made redundant need support and care, so too do other staff members involved in the process. This includes those being put at risk who aren’t made redundant, staff whose role will change as a result of others leaving, the people leading the consultation, the managers who are responsible for those at risk, and those who will physically deliver the news to the affected. It’s very easy to discount everyone staying on once redundancies have happened, but they too may find their attitudes and appetites toward work change.
Support Should Not Just Be Emotional
Many employers offer the services of specialist counsellors to emotionally manage the consequences of facing redundancy. There are, however, lots of other aspects to be managed. This includes, but is by no means limited to, financial advice, career and educational guidance, specific business planning for the future of your organisation, housing and benefit support and professional training. These can apply to both those being made voluntarily redundant and not.
Redundancies and restructures are a tough time for businesses and their staff to face, but they can be overcome. The more responsible and supportive an employer, the better. The professionalism and kindness will be recognised and rewarded, and the business will develop and grow because of it.