Career transition | Why redundancy doesn't have to be the elephant in the room

Why redundancy doesn't have to be the elephant in the room

By Sarah Hernon, Principal Consultant – Right Management UK

With daily news reports detailing growing unemployment rates, it’s no surprise that employees often view redundancy in a bad light. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Providing outplacement support during the redundancy process means that individuals feel prepared, supported – and even excited – to take their next step. With a wealth of career transition support on offer to individuals, it’s vital that this is framed positively, ensuring engagement with the process and maintaining good relationships with those leaving, as well as those who will remain in the business.

3 ways to change the perception of job loss

Frame it positively

When talking to employees about the decision of redundancy, try to frame the situation in a positive light. Remind those exiting the business that the role has been made redundant, not them as an individual; and as one chapter closes, another one opens. This will help employees approach their transition with a positive mindset, making them more likely to engage with any outplacement programme the business is providing. Engaged employees will be more likely to achieve a successful transition much sooner.

Whilst there’s no denying the job market is very different to that of 12 months ago, opportunities are out there – and more than ever, organisations are seeking employees with the skills to help their businesses ride the storm. For job seekers, now is the time to highlight transferrable skills such as agility, flexibility, creativity and resilience – identifying past experiences that can illustrate these key skills, and thinking about new roles and sectors where they could be utilised.

Highlight internal roles

An organisational restructure doesn’t always need to result in an exodus from the business, with LinkedIn finding that internal mobility is up 19.6% since April 2020.When communicating the decision to the affected employees, HR and business leaders should ensure clear and transparent processes for applying for internal vacancies, while offering career conversations and coaching to help individuals update CVs and covering letters, and identify their transferable skills and suitability for available positions.

Implementing a redeployment programme prior to formal redundancy announcements ensures key talent is retained within the business, whilst also promoting a message of internal mobility. In fact, employees at companies with high internal mobility stay almost two times longer.

Communicate clearly, and to everyone

When managing a large-scale restructure, it’s crucial that business and HR leaders communicate the plan to the entire workforce as soon as possible; ensuring employees understand the rationale behind the decision and are clear on the timeframe of the restructure. This will help those leaving the company come to terms with the decision, while also ensuring that the employees remaining within the business are kept in the loop and understand any changing expectations or responsibilities.

Those being made redundant are likely to embark on a rollercoaster of emotions including shock, denial, anger and uncertainty, while the ‘survivors’ may be feeling guilty about retaining their jobs, and apprehensive about the safety of their own positions. However, by providing clear communications to the entire workforce, business leaders are better placed to address any questions or concerns and provide greater emotional support to all those affected. This in turn will help maintain a good reputation and brand image throughout the process, ensuring that employees leave the business on good terms, while those staying remain engaged and motivated to continue performing at their best – not because they live in fear of losing their role, but because they feel valued by the business.

Approaching organisational restructure the right way

Ultimately, it’s important for business and HR leaders to approach an organisational restructure sensitively and on an individual basis. Some people will come to terms with the reality of their situation quite quickly, while others may need extra support. It’s also highly likely that certain employees will respond differently to different styles of communication, with certain individuals responding better to the positive ‘framing’ of the decision than others.

For more information and advice on changing the perception of redundancy, visit Right Management’s website.

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We enable organisations to attract, develop and retain the top talent for a rapidly transforming business environment. Right Management from Talent Solutions has more than 40 years of expertise in the talent lifecycle. Our insight- and technology-driven solutions are designed to work with your needs and your organisational culture. We accelerate the capabilities of your workforce to ensure your talent – and your business – is prepared to meet the demands of a strategic global workforce.