Whether you are making one person or a hundred people redundant, the task is never an easy one. It is rather like throwing a grenade into someone’s carefully ordered life. Most managers hate being handed the poisoned chalice of redundancy news. It is stressful difficult to manage, even for larger organizations where managers have a Six Sigma white belt certification.
At its root, managing redundancy is all about managing change, so if you treat redundancy announcements in the same way that you deal with change management, you should be OK. However, to make things a bit easier, here are some tips for managing redundancies within a business.
Devise a Clear Communication Strategy
Use an existing change management policy to inform the way you make your redundancy announcement. There needs to be a clear consultation process for employees being made redundant. People need to understand the selection process and why they, instead of a colleague, are in the firing line. Unless you handle this process correctly, you could end up facing a lawsuit.
Stick to the Facts
Always stick to the facts when announcing redundancies. Redundancies have to be justified, so be concise and explain clearly who and why. The more you obfuscate, the harder it will be for employees to figure out what is going on. This only creates confusion, which is the last thing you need.
Practice Your Speech
Write a speech and practice it so you can make the announcement smoothly and maintain eye contact. Be prepared to answer questions, so make time to do this at the end of your speech. Different people react in different ways to this type of unwelcome news, so expect a fair amount of unsettled behavior and possible unpleasantness.
Listen to People
No doubt, you will want to leave as soon as possible after delivering the bad news, but resist the temptation to make a stage exit left. Instead, stick around to answer questions and listen to what people have to say.
Allow enough time for people to come and talk to you. You may find that some employees are willing to take voluntary redundancy, which means other positions can be saved.
Show compassion for what is happening. It is never easy being told your job is ending, so try to empathize with how your employees are feeling. Put yourself in their shoes. You will be expected to remain composed and professional, but this does not mean you need to stay cold and aloof.
Offer Visible Support
Make sure your employees know your door is always open if they have questions or concerns. You may not have all the answers, but do your best to help and point them in the direction of any resources applicable to their personal situation.
Don’t Raise False Hope
Never give employees false hope. Instead, concentrate on making the transition as easy as possible for them.
Never implement a redundancy process before you have thoroughly check employees’ contracts, or you could end up triggering unexpected financial settlements.