Communicating Redundancies To Staff

Effectively communicating redundancies is hugely important. Being made redundant is one of the most stressful experiences in modern life.


How, and when, you communicate about redundancies can have a lasting impact.

The better prepared you are the smoother the process will be when making staff redundant.

Redundancy Communication

  1. Build a clear and simple message to help explain the rationale for the changes
  2. Ensure that all managers are consistently delivering the message
  3. Create Frequently Asked Questions to help manage staff concerns and queries
  4. Where redundancies draw press attention, consider creating a press release to control messages.
  5. Provide affected colleagues with timely written communications, outcome letters and helpful information
  6. Ensure colleagues know how they should communicate about redundancies with customers or suppliers.

Redundancy Timing

There is no such thing as a good time to announce a redundancy consultation, but there is a bad time.

Consider carefully when to announce redundancies. You don’t want to appear insensitive. This could damage your long-term business reputation.

When a business is continuing to trade, consider any unaffected colleagues as well. Well thought out communication timing and methods can benefit morale, motivation and team working.

Let employees who are at risk of redundancy know before the rest of the workforce.

Ensure you tell your staff about any potential redundancies BEFORE any public announcements. They shouldn’t get the news from the press or social media.

Select a day and time that will allow affected staff to absorb the news and respond. Be prepared to let colleagues go home early.

Planning your redundancy communications

It is very important to plan what you intend to say. Be sure to:

  1. Outline and practice what you’re going to say. Rehearsing will help you communicate more effectively, which is what the affected employees need.
  2. Think through employees’ potential responses in advance. They will ask difficult questions. Don’t put your head in the sand and hope they won’t occur.
  3. Be prepared to answer difficult and emotive questions, such as ‘Why me?’, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ and ‘How will I tell my family?’
  4. Be prepared to answer a range of questions on ‘what happens now’?

Redundancy Consultation and Meetings

Employers must consult with staff before any redundancies. The process depends on the reasons for redundancies, and how many people are affected.

When a company will still be trading, colleagues should initially be “put at risk” of redundancy.

You should explore other options to redundancies, such as redeployment etc. This could allow you to avoid or minimise the need for redundancies.

Redundancy Meetings

Redundancy follow-up meetings are crucial in a redundancy process. They help people come to terms with redundancy and potential impacts.

Further conversations/meetings allow:

  • employees to ask questions and explore new ideas
  • managers to spot potential issues throughout the process.
  • greater understanding of additional support that employees will require.

Right to Time Off for Interviews

‘At risk’ colleagues have a legal right to reasonable paid time off for job interviews during the consultation period.

Consider offering affected staff support for CV preparation and interview skills.

Show compassion and listen

When going through a redundancy process you need to:

  • Remain professional
  • Be focused in your approach
  • And very importantly, show compassion.

The redundancy process may be emotional for employees and managers. Show empathy and give yourself the time to listen to and understand their issues.

Ensure employees know you are willing to listen and answer any questions they have. This should be the case even if it takes time or challenges the business decisions which have been made.

Manage Expectations

Be honest about what’s happening. Don’t try and soften the news with more positive or hopeful messages if this would mislead employee expectations.

Remember:

  • Be as clear and transparent as you can
  • Clearly communicate the timings and process
  • Help the employees understand what they need to do and consider as next steps.
  • Where there is a reduced number of roles, be open and honest about the redundancy selection process

Confirm Rendundancy Conversations In Writing

Don’t forget to confirm all outcomes in writing. For example:

  • Date that compulsory or voluntary redundancy applies
  • Details of any promotion / demotion / change to role
  • Any variations to terms and conditions and/or issuing new contracts

Also, remember that all employees facing compulsory redundancy have a legal right of appeal. They are also entitled to a fair redundancy process.

See our “Making Staff Redundant” blog for guidance on making fair redundancy decisions.

Is your business if facing a period of change? Do you need to make staff redundant? If you would like help to manage the process, and ensure you meet your statutory obligations, get in touch. Call Debbie on 07885 370054 or email debbie@concilium-hr.co.uk

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