Redundancy: the last resort

Redundancy is distressing for most people and requires sensitive handling. It should be viewed as a last resort in any business restructuring, but this does not mean its not the right thing to do especially in tough trading times.

However, redundancy legislation is complex, and employers need to understand the correct process to follow to ensure fair treatment of the redundant employee, as well as maintaining the productivity and morale of the remaining staff.

As a minimum the following steps should be followed

  • Plan the change required
  • Identify those in scope of redundancy
  • Consult with in scope employees and their representatives
  • Seek volunteers to avoid compulsory redundancies
  • Selection for redundancy
  • Seek to redeploy and avoid redundancy
  • Issue notice of redundancy (dismiss)
  • Manage appeals
  • Process redundancy termination payments
  • Offer counselling and support e.g. outplacement

Remember there is no right time to make a redundancy dismissal; in the past I have worked for a business that deliberately avoided it at Christmas time but we came in for criticism when we launched into consultation in the new year as those impacted felt they were now a month behind in a buoyant new year job market and could have avoided excessive spending during the festive season had they been aware of the looming redundancies.

Does your business need support with HR matters such as this? Are you disappointed with your current HR provider? Are you getting value for money? Could your in-house HR team do with additional support?

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