Some of those reading this latest and final entry in our redundancy blog will have been through a redundancy process themselves, either as one of the employees unfortunately placed at risk of redundancy or as one of the employees or advisers involved in administering the procedure.
From either side of the table, it can be an anxious and unpleasant experience.
As we touched upon in our previous blog, whilst the focus is often on those employees who are leaving you, you also need to consider the impact on your remaining staff – those who have “survived” the redundancy.
Announcing the likelihood of redundancies in the workplace is often the equivalent of pressing a panic alarm, even if employees hearing that news are not actually at risk of redundancy themselves. It is still likely that they will be indirectly affected by the news, perhaps in losing valued colleagues that they have known for a considerable amount of time or simply because they feel that they will be under greater scrutiny from the powers-that-be.
Your response to their concerns needs to be positive, but measured and realistic, which will depend very much upon the circumstances in which you find yourself as a business owner or manager. For example:-
- It is worthwhile giving your team a little reassurance, both collectively and individually, as they may be shell-shocked by what has happened. Holding a team meeting to give an approved announcement regarding the departure of those employees who have been made redundant whilst thanking your “survivors” for their resilience during the difficult times could go a long way. Employees are likely to ask whether further redundancies are envisaged and you may not be able to guarantee that further redundancies are unlikely. The best policy in this situation is to provide a response that is honest but also contains any further alarm that may be caused, which will rely very heavily on the specific situation and which you will need to receive tailored advice on;
- Inject a feeling of a team effort into both the meeting and day-to-day working after the departure of the employees who have been made redundant. Where you are doing things already like acknowledging achievement and checking in with your employees regularly, then this may not be a difficult step. However, if you are not doing these things, then it would be best to start making this the norm so that you can ensure that they feel appreciated and valued not only for the work that they perform, but also as a part of your business community;
- You may have had to agree with your employees that certain contractual benefits (i.e. healthcare cover, bonuses, forms of paid leave that otherwise would be unpaid etc.) and/or discretionary benefits would be withdrawn in the effort to avoid redundancies and save jobs. It would be suspicious to implement these benefits again right after the redundant employees have left, as it could call into question the fairness of their redundancy and, moreover, you may not be in a position to provide these benefits anyway (at least, not in the short term). However, if you do plan to reintroduce them again at a later date if business improves, then you could inform your remaining employees that the position on those benefits will be kept under review;
- Mental health has been pushed to the forefront due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is important to understand that mental health is an issue that needs to be addressed at all times. A redundancy scenario is one of those instances where the health and wellbeing of employees both individually and collectively can decline quite rapidly. Therefore, appointing mental health first aiders and/or having an employee assistance programme can make all the difference. Alternatively, your employees may prefer to talk to organisations that are independent of the business, such as the NHS or a charity such as Mind. The key thing is to ensure that, if your employees need support, you know how to support them and have informed them both of the support that you offer and how they can access that support.
In general, to sum up our redundancy blogs as whole, each redundancy is unique and will have its own issues on which you will need to obtain specific advice. If you have questions about redundancy, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01483 751878 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is intended for information purposes only and not as a substitute for legal advice. TP Legal does not accept any responsibility for any decisions that you may make as a result of reading this article.