Updated: Jul 24
There are two sides to this.
1. Someone who is delivering the bad news or being around people who have had at risk news or
2. How to handle redundancy as someone who is at risk (my previous blog)
Being on both sides of the desk at one time or another in my career, I can confirm, neither is a picnic.
There are a ton of articles on the practicalities of what you should do if you are making redundancies - like this great one and other advice from ACAS.
But what about the emotions, your mindset and how you should act.
This is business, but the people it affects are human. Redundancies should and hopefully will never be done by a robot.
Sadly when roles are no longer needed, managers and other people fail to act, sometimes well, sometimes at all.
Burying their heads in the sand, because the thought of someone possibly crying is too much. Managers are afraid if they say anything it will break the process, someone will go to tribunal.
Your actions will be remembered and talked about. Make sure you are proud of them
1. Know the details
If you are going to be making the call or telling the person this news. Try to find out what else is going on in their life. Debt, divorce, another high ranking life event. Try to be certain that this isn’t going to be the last straw for them. Not to avoid it, but to ensure they have support around them. Arm yourself with support telephone numbers MIND/Samaritans if you are concerned.
If you are doing this over the phone, do you know who they are going to be on the phone to afterwards, who is their work support system. Make sure their line manager is aware.
2. Act like a human being
Check in that the person is ok, be sorry that they are going through this process and you will be there for them. If you have the power to let them leave early after they have been told the news, let them.
3. Support them with their work
If the person is certain they are going to leave, or is upset, the chances are that the next 30 days are not going to be productive. So just make it easy for them, without taking the work away.
4. Use your network
How can you support them next. Open your network, arrange a call with someone for them, offer to look at their CV, talk about internal opportunities. Be careful with this within the process as it can feel like you know the outcome of the consultation. Be careful to not be condescending. If you are following all the above. It will come across well.
5. Help them change their mindset
It is the role that is being made redundant. Not them. Help them to take control of the news, share it and feel positive about it.
6. Help them leave the business in a positive way
No matter if they are being made redundant while working from home, you can still make them feel important. Inviting their friends and closest colleagues to a goodbye zoom call.
Pitching in for a card and gift, and sharing memories of your best times with them will give them a send off they deserve. Make sure you send a warm email round to the business a few days before they leave to allow others to say goodbye and digest the news.