Making redundancies is never easy and is almost always most difficult for the employee. People describe the experience as similar to grief – a change or loss of something familiar that has been forced upon them. The discomfort felt comes from the fact the individual is forced to confront a new reality they did not want or expect, and one that is very different from their familiar routine, structure, career path and financial security that has been suddenly removed.
This guide explains the things you should consider in the process of making an employee redundant, from the perspective of keeping their wellbeing in mind.
Communicating The Redundancy
Consider how to communicate the news to manage the emotional impact. Bear in mind that the company has had some time to emotionally process the situation (redundancies take a bit of planning) and that planning time means the person delivering the news is inevitably in a different place emotionally than the employee.
Consider whether a phased announcement will help or hinder the situation. Making a clearly communicated plan of how downsizing will allow the company to continue before announcing individual redundancies will enable employees who believe they are most at risk to grasp an understanding of what is happening and prepare them for what may come next, with an approximate timescale of this process.
Supporting The Remaining Workforce
Sometimes the intensity and demands of a redundancy process can mean the remaining employees are momentarily ‘forgotten’. You need this group of employees to bounce back and deliver, and supporting their wellbeing is crucial.
There may be feelings of shock when they learn about their unlucky colleagues, and ‘survivor guilt’ that they are still lucky enough to keep their position. They may feel that their own positions are at risk and that they could be next. They may feel resentful that they now have to take on additional workload. Effective communications and a framework of support for your remaining employees is essential to rebuild morale, trust and team effectiveness.
Approaching The Notice Period
Provide Employee Wellbeing Support
Whilst those leaving your company can benefit from redundancy coaching and support, it’s important for them to know that they are supported by the company as they are likely to have built up relationships with their peers.
I recommend support in two key areas – emotional and practical.
Emotional Support: Of course, everyone will react differently to redundancy. Some may easily accept their employment will be coming to an end, but most will be upset, angry and panicking about how they will pay their bills and find another job.
Managers, supervisors and HR should be prepared for a range of emotional responses from redundant employees. It’s important to remember that these emotions are not personal attacks and are a sign of defence and shock.
When briefing managers on the steps to follow when managing redundancies, I highly recommend also training on how to manage the emotional responses they are likely to receive tactfully and calmly, how to defuse a highly emotional employee, and how to notice their own emotions. Remember to support the emotional wellbeing of the managers too – they will almost certainly need the training outlined, but also some support in terms of managing their own emotional wellbeing.
Practical Support: Most employees will need support to help them deal with the practical impact of the redundancy. Many EAP services offer financial budgeting support, and I’d recommend these are explored and openly offered as part of a post-redundancy programme of support.
That programme of support should also include redundancy coaching, sometimes referred to as outplacement support or career coaching. This helps the employee with the key aspects needed to find a new job, from establishing a plan, updating their cv and LinkedIn profile, and practical tips and techniques for interviews.
Why Use An Outsourced Redundancy Coach?
A redundancy outplacement coaching programme offered in a flexible way to cater for different individual needs and circumstances, will support your employer brand and goodwill. Not only will you be supporting the wellbeing of affected employees, you will also be demonstrating to your remaining employees that you care,
This is easier than it sounds! I have a range of group and 121 coaching redundancy coaching programmes that are easy to implement, flexible to suit individual needs, and very affordable.
If you’re looking for bespoke 121 redundancy coaching, we can make progress together from the start of the first call. No faffing. We want to get results fast! The group approach is created specifically for clients with 20+ redundancies to support, where budgets might not stretch to 121 coaching for everyone.
For more information on how we can help, please get in touch.