Redundancy and the Law of Kindness
In today’s climate, being made redundant is becoming more and more prevalent and everyone knows somebody who has recently been through a redundancy or change process.
In 2019, 106,000 redundancies occurred compared to 155,000 in 2010. Although the numbers have reduced, the number is looking likely to increase as jobs change or diminish due to technology and employers needing to be more efficient.
Obviously redundancy can be a very upsetting situation for affected employees as it affects their ability to earn money, their livelihood and the sense of belonging to something. The future for them and perhaps their family—work, home, schools, money—may be very uncertain. Low self-esteem and depression can result, with a similar effect to bereavement. For both Manager and Employee it is often a far worse experience by the way the process is handled.
So can an employee be made redundant kindly?
We think they can!
Losing a job is never going to be easy but the way that the process is carried out can make a huge difference to employees. Managers are not always sure how to handle the situation and they may appear cold and aloof. However, if the redundancy is genuine and the business grounds are sound, there is no need for secrecy and coldness. In terms of paperwork, it is obviously necessary during a redundancy process but it should be kept to a minimum. Letters should be bespoke for each individual and written with the person in mind and their own individual circumstances rather than just a standard templated letter.
The old saying, “Treat others how you would expect to be treated” applies to redundancies and all HR processes. If Managers follow this then mutual respect and dignity can be preserved while ticking all the right legal boxes.
So what can employers do to make the process more employee focussed and “kind”?
- Treat employees how you would want to be treated. Show respect and empathy.
- Communicate, communicate and communicate some more…
- Listen to employees and what they have to say about the situation and be open to their ideas about ways to avoid the redundancy
- Be as flexible as possible in terms of employees ideas and suggestions
- Be open and honest about the process and the reasons why the redundancy situation has arisen
- Be approachable, open and honest in all of the meetings with employees.
If you need support with a redundancy or change process please call us.