Workforce roles | Destigmatising redundancy

Destigmatising redundancy

By Simon Lyle, Managing Director, Randstad RiseSmart UK

Nine months into the pandemic, and even those businesses able to weather the storm up to now are having to think about restructuring in 2021 in order to survive.

So has anything changed during this time regarding how we perceive redundancy?

Even before this pandemic came along, we were seeing workforces beginning to change shape. Remote and flexible working, freelancing and the gig economy were all gaining momentum. While people still had questions around redundancy, over the past five years I think we’ve seen it become somewhat destigmatised - and rightly so - as more people took their careers in a new direction following a redundancy. People aren’t made redundant; roles are.

In a way, Covid is serving as an untimely reminder of that message - unfortunately, we’re seeing many of our friends and colleagues being made redundant from roles that seemed to have a bright future at the beginning of the year. The scale and impact of the pandemic has shown us that nearly every business has had to pivot in some way to adapt to ‘the new normal’.

In much the same way, more individuals are reinventing themselves, changing careers or pivoting their skills and experience to position themselves in new ways for their next role. Pre-pandemic, people making a major change mid-career were in the minority, and if you had to take a ‘step down’ to move into a new sector or role, I think people often viewed such a post-redundancy move with sympathy. Now, we have seen no end of radical career shifts as so many sectors have been devastated, and I think people now view these moves as admirable and showing resilience. As we come out of this, perhaps any remaining stigma around redundancy will be gone once and for all.

Our philosophy is based on everyone having access to the career transition support they need – we provide a career coach, a personal branding expert, a job concierge and a career technology platform as standard. We have a 98% participant satisfaction rate – a figure we’re incredibly proud of. But, like so many things in life, getting that support means a willingness to, if not ask for help, then accept it.

There are a variety of reasons why someone may not want to accept support during career transition. Perhaps they have other plans, perhaps they have seen an opportunity elsewhere, perhaps they do not feel it will help. These are all valid reasons. But a lot of the time, I think feelings of loneliness and shame come into play – and this is what we want to challenge. I think Covid - and our collective reaction to it - is going a long way to chase off the last of that feeling. Many times this year, we have been told that we’re all in it together – uncertainty and change is now sewn into the fabric of everyday life. If there’s one good thing to come out of this terrible situation, let’s make it a fresh perspective, where redundancy is seen as a normal part of anyone’s career
journey – not a dead end.

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We ease workforce changes as people move into, within, and out of your organisation. We are the only provider of outplacement, redeployment and career development expertise that can offer you a total talent mobility solution on one integrated platform. Our contemporary and innovative approach means your people benefit from career-transforming experiences whilst you maintain engagement, strengthen your employer brand, and generate greater productivity.