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A Compassionate Approach to Restructuring, Redeployment and Redundancies

Updated: Jan 5


The current business climate has forced many organizations to make difficult decisions regarding redundancies and restructures. It can be a challenging time for those involved, so it’s essential to approach the process with sensitivity and compassion.


Understanding the Impact of Redundancies and Restructures


Restructuring, redeployment, and potential redundancies will inevitably cause a great deal of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty among staff members, which can negatively affect their morale and overall well-being. Therefore, adopting a compassionate approach throughout the process is vital.


Taking the time to listen and validate employee’s concerns will not only help them feel heard and understood but will also enable you to gain valuable insights into their experiences. This understanding can help guide your decision-making process and ensure that you approach the situation with sensitivity.


Communicating with Employees


One of the most important aspects of managing redundancies and restructures is effective communication with your employees. It is essential to approach these conversations with empathy and compassion, as they can be highly distressing and uncertain for those involved.


Start by being open and transparent about the reasons behind the redundancies or restructures – the ‘why’. Clearly explain the business objectives and the need for change. Use simple and jargon-free language to ensure everyone understands the situation.


When delivering the news, be honest and straightforward. It is important to be sympathetic to the emotional impact this may have on employees, while still maintaining professionalism. Acknowledge their feelings, listen attentively, and provide support by checking in, encouraging two way discussion, and responding to questions in a timely manner.


By approaching communication with empathy, you can help ease the anxiety and stress associated with redundancies and restructures. Your employees will feel supported and valued, which can ultimately contribute to a smoother and more positive transition.


Offering Support to Affected Employees


During a restructure, it’s important to recognize the impact this can have on your employees. Not only are they facing potential job loss or a significant change in their role, but they may also experience a range of emotions such as anxiety, stress, and sadness.


Where redeployment or redundancies are required, it is important to support your employees during this time, consider offering career counselling services, job search assistance, upskilling, training and development opportunities, flexible working to allow time for interviews.


By offering support to affected employees, you not only demonstrate compassion and empathy but also potentially help mitigate any negative effects on your remaining employees and overall company culture.


Providing Clear and Fair Selection Criteria


Clear selection criteria means having a set of defined factors that will be used to determine who will be selected for redundancy or redeployment. These factors should be communicated to all employees in a transparent manner. It is important to be specific and avoid any ambiguity to ensure everyone understands the basis on which decisions will be made.


Fair selection criteria means that the factors chosen should be objective, non-discriminatory, and relevant to the business needs. Factors such as skills, qualifications, performance, and experience should be considered. It is vital to avoid any personal bias during the selection process.


Providing clear and fair selection criteria and treating employees with respect and fairness during the difficult process of restructuring can help maintain trust, minimize the risk of legal disputes, and ultimately lead to a smoother transition for everyone involved.


Avoiding Unconscious Bias in Selection


Unconscious bias can inadvertently influence decision-making and result in discrimination of employees. To avoid this, it is important to take proactive steps to eliminate bias from the selection process by involving multiple decision-makers in the selection process. This can help prevent individual biases from influencing the outcome. By having a diverse panel of decision-makers, different perspectives and viewpoints can be considered, including external subject matter experts, leading to a more objective and fair decision-making process.


Considering Alternative Employment Options


It’s essential to consider alternative employment options for employees affected by redundancies or restructures. Not only does it demonstrate that you value their contribution and skills, but it also increases the chances of retaining good talent within your organisation and meets an employer’s responsibility to mitigate redundancies whenever possible.


Alternative employment options could include exploring job-sharing arrangements, secondments, or flexible working arrangements that could help retain employees in different roles or areas of the business, or wider group.


Dealing with Notice Periods and Pay


One of the critical aspects of managing redundancies and restructures sympathetically is handling notice periods and pay. This is a sensitive area that requires careful consideration to ensure fairness and respect for the affected employees.


First and foremost, it is essential to be transparent and communicate clearly with employees about their notice period and the pay they are entitled to receive. Provide detailed information about the notice period length and explain the calculation of pay, including any accrued holiday or outstanding benefits.


Ensure that the payment process is efficient and timely. This will help alleviate any financial burdens that employees may be facing as a result of the redundancy or restructuring and enable them to budget and plan for their financial future.


Managing Remaining Employees


While your focus during a redundancy or restructuring process will inevitably be on those who are affected, it's important to also consider how you will communicate and manage those who are remaining within the business. They may have experienced a significant level of disruption, and they will likely be looking for reassurance and stability going forward.


Be aware that the process of redundancy and restructuring can lead to a level of uncertainty and anxiety among all employees, including those not directly affected. Make sure to provide regular updates and be available to answer any questions or concerns they may have. If there is a possibility of future changes, be transparent and honest about what the business may face and how it will affect staff.


Reviewing the Process


it is important to take the time to listen to feedback and review the entire process. This step is crucial to assess the effectiveness of the approach taken and to identify any areas for improvement.


Assess the overall impact of the redundancies and restructures on the organization. Has the intended outcome been achieved? Are the remaining employees feeling secure and motivated? Consider conducting employee surveys or holding feedback sessions to gather insights on the overall effectiveness of the process.


By thoroughly reviewing the process, organizations can learn from their experiences and continually improve their approach to managing redundancies and restructures in a structured and compassionate manner.


Check out other Blogs in our series:


Please contact Robinson Grace HR for further advice and support via clientservices@robinsongracehr.com or call us on 01793 311937 to see if we can help you.


The content of our blogs is intended for general information only and does not replace legal or other professional advice.

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