The business landscape is constantly evolving, and change is something many modern companies have to embrace. Sometimes, change can bring new opportunities, and being able to adapt increases the chances of keeping up with competitors and ensuring customers receive the level of service they expect. In some cases, change can relate to alterations in the staffing structure, but you don’t always need to make redundancies to benefit from modifications and restructures. This guide will provide useful information for business owners hoping to avoid redundancies and employees who are faced with the possibility of being made redundant.
Embracing change without making redundancies
Every business has to cope with a degree of change. When you run a company in this day and age, there are challenges around every corner, and it’s imperative that you can adapt to new environments and overcome new obstacles. If you’re trying to cut costs, make your business more efficient or change the way you operate, this may bring with it the chance of redundancies. Redundancies are usually not good PR for businesses, but they can also contribute to the loss of highly-skilled, loyal and motivated employees. You may also find that losing star players benefits your competitors.
As a business owner, you may be desperate to avoid making employees redundant, but you might feel that you have no option. If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s worth considering these options before making a final call.
- Freezing recruitment: if you’re considering reducing the size of the workforce, it makes sense to put a temporary freeze on recruitment.
- Evaluate employee benefits: if you can’t afford to keep all your staff, evaluate the employee benefits package and see if you could make savings here.
- Scrape back overtime: discuss voluntary overtime with employees and take steps to minimise it to lower wages.
- Offer modified hours: if you need to cut back, talk to your employees about the possibility of modifying or reducing their hours. Some may prefer to work less than lose their jobs.
- Introduce a pay freeze
- Consider secondments and sabbaticals: discuss these options, which may be appealing, especially for long-serving staff members
- Offer the option to buy more leave
At every step of the thought process, it’s important to liaise with members of staff. If you’re making changes, for example, you’re considering altering the employment package or shortening the working week, it’s essential that your employees are aware of these modifications. If there is a decision to be made about taking redundancy, either voluntary or compulsory, your employees have a right to know what’s going on, and how their role could be affected if they choose to stay at the business. Communication is key, and it’s also imperative to ensure that you work within a legal framework.
Dealing with redundancy as an employee
Seven years ago we published this article: Important tips on how to avoid being made redundant and this section here is an update on our thoughts.For many employees, the mere mention of the word redundancy can spark fear. You may love your job, you might have dependents, and you may be anxious about your ability to get a new job, especially if redundancy comes later on in your career. Some people might be open to the idea of taking redundancy, especially if they are confident that they will be able to find a new job or they’ve been thinking about moving, but it’s not a proposition that will be welcomed by all by any stretch of the imagination.
If there are whispers circulating in the office and you’re worried about where you stand, ask questions, find out information and determine how any changes will impact you directly. If there’s a restructure, this may not affect everyone, and there’s no point in worrying if your job is safe. If you speak to your boss and your job is at risk, then you can make a decision about what to do next. You could try and fight for your place and show the company how valuable an asset you are, or you could consider a move away from the company. If changes are afoot, and you want to stay where you are, be prepared to move with the times and be part of the new way of working. You may find that changing your hours or working compressed days actually suits you better and losing certain benefits may be a lot more appealing than finding yourself on the unemployed shelf. If on the other hand, you’re open to a new challenge, redundancy doesn’t have to be the end of the road for you in your career. You could view it as an opportunity.
What to do next if you’re made redundant
If you’ve been given notice of redundancy, it’s time to focus on your future. Before you do anything, make sure you’re aware of the legalities, your rights and what you stand to gain from your redundancy package. It’s important that you know when you’re going to leave and also that you take advantage of benefits that are available to you. Some companies offer a budget for training and help from recruitment companies as part of the redundancy deal, for example. When you’re ready, think carefully about what you want to do, and don’t take redundancy personally. Don’t let it knock your confidence, as this could hinder your search for a new job. Be proactive, consider further education like a university degree or Masters, review your CV and get in touch with recruitment agencies. Make use of social media platforms like LinkedIn and start looking around for vacancies. If you get an interview, be confident, maintain your composure and plan your answers. If a question comes up about your redundancy, don’t play the victim or get upset. Explain the situation and persuade that panel that you’re in a perfect position to be able to benefit them now that you’re available.
Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, the word redundancy can have incredibly negative connotations. No company manager wants to have to make cuts, but sometimes, you have to bring about change to compete, challenge others and stay above water. If redundancies are an option, consider alternative measures first and make sure you communicate with your employees. As an employee, gather as much information as you can before you make any decisions about your future. Consider the impact of taking redundancy and think about how you could adapt to the changes if you stayed. If you have to take redundancy or you opt for voluntary redundancy, don’t lose heart. Be confident that you can get another job and start your search with clear objectives and a positive mindset.
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