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Leadership Management

How to Provide Support for Staff Facing Redundancy

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Redundancy is one of the most different things for an employer to go through. Telling employees they’re at risk of redundancy is difficult and uncomfortable.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put many people into difficult financial situations. Many businesses have been forced to make redundancies with few industries being completely unscathed.

Sadly, this has made the prospect of redundancies much more common.

Redundancies can leave both employees and employers in a tough position. It’s important to know how to provide support for employees facing redundancy.

Supporting staff before redundancies

The key to success during turbulent times is to keep your employees in the loop.

With so many businesses making redundancies at the moment, your employees are going to be concerned. Whether you’re facing redundancies or not, it’s important to address the issue. This will prevent troubling rumours and mediate low motivation in employees.

By remaining transparent about redundancies, employers can provide support for those with concerns about redundancies. Making the decision as to who to make redundant can also be made easier when employees are in the know.

If you do need to make redundancies, letting employees know at the first signs of financial difficulty will ensure they’re prepared if they’re let go.

At this time, you should set financial targets needed to prevent any redundancies and suggest a roadmap for how those targets will be met.

This will let your employees know of the potential risk while also engaging them to try and turn the situation around.

While doing this, you should remind your staff of any support services available to them.

EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) services provide your employees with access to confidential and professional help to your staff.

When suggesting that staff should make use of any services that you have available, you should remind them of how to do so. Many people will feel uncomfortable asking how to use the service.

You should reaffirm what rights employees have. Provide information on redundancy pay and when their last paycheck would be.

Providing this information will help your employees to trust you have their concerns in mind.

Supporting Staff During the Redundancy Process

Unfortunately, you won’t always be able to prevent redundancies, but there is a lot you can do to support employees between handing them their notice and the end of their employment.

As mentioned previously, EAP services can be hugely beneficial to employees who have been made redundant. You should remind employees that they will still have access to the service throughout their notice period.

If your workload allows for it, you can support employees by freeing up their time to let them work on finding a new job.

If you are able to free up their work day, you could consider providing pay in lieu of notice (PILON) instead. This is where you pay the employee upfront for their notice period to prevent the need for them to return to the workplace.

Supporting Staff That Survive Redundancy

As well as taking care of the employees who you make redundant, it’s important to support those that keep their jobs.

Following a round of redundancies, even if an employee isn’t the one chosen for redundancy, it can still be quite the blow to morale and those that survive the round of redundancy can end up leaving the company as well.

This is a common occurrence known as survivor syndrome. It affects employees in different ways.

Some will feel guilty for avoiding redundancy when their coworkers were let go. Others can be stressed and overwhelmed by having to complete their redundant coworkers tasks as well as their own. And all of them will be concerned about the possibility of a second round of redundancy.

The same steps you took before making any redundancies should be followed to support the remaining team and make sure you don’t lose any more employees than you have to.

About the Author

This article was provided by Kate Palmer, HR advice and consultancy director for Peninsula.  Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @Kate1Palmer.

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