Dealing with redundancies: thinking ahead

12/18/2013

sign with future and arrowReflect and plan

With the end of the year upon us, now is a chance to reflect as well as plan ahead. It has been a difficult few years for many employers; dealing with redundancies has almost been inevitable for numerous firms during the recession. With the light now visible at the end of the tunnel, it’s all too easy to presume that the threat of redundancy has passed. However, sudden changes, mergers and acquisitions, all common in more prosperous times, may still herald the need for further job losses within an organisation, each of which will need to be prepared for. As many well know, even the loss of a large contract without prior warning can leave a company reeling and can set off a chain of events that must occur before groups of employees are made redundant. From outplacement providers Renovo, here’s a reminder of the minimum timelines you will need to work to when dealing with redundancies.

Consultation periods

For collective redundancies of 20+ employees, you’re required by law to offer consultation periods to discuss the plans. For between 20 and 99 employees, the consultation period must start a minimum of 30 days before any dismissals take place. For 100+ employees, this increases to 45 days. There is no minimum consultation period requirement for smaller groups of employees, but some form of consultation is still required.

Know your notice periods

The notice period that you’re formally required to give to those employees you’re proposing to make redundant varies depending on how long they’ve worked for you. For employees of one month to two years, you must give at least one week’s notice. One week’s additional notice should be supplied for every year of employment for employees of between two and twelve years. Twelve weeks’ notice also needs to be given for employees of longer than twelve years. In each of these instances, there may naturally be the need for longer notice periods depending on what is set out in employment contracts.

Ensure your outplacement support is ready to access

If you’ve been open with your employees about the impending redundancies, they’ll want to know if you can offer them any support. If you’ve explored and exhausted all opportunities for any alternative employment within the business, you’ll need to break the news to them about their redundancies. If you already have an outplacement provider in place, this may help them to come to terms with the actions you have had to take, and equip them with the greatest chance of success of transitioning to a new role with minimum disruption.

Explain to your staff about the support that the outplacement provider will give them, whether its career coaching, emotional support, or help with updating their CV and practising interview skills. Choose an outplacement service provider that has a great track record of getting employees back into the workplace to reassure your staff that they won’t be out of work for long.

Show that you care

Notifying staff and dealing with redundancies as soon as they become a possibility, you risk morale plummeting immediately. However, staff will appreciate that you notified them as soon as you could and as long as you are able to show that you’ve already considered how to support them through the process you will be able to arrest any drop in morale before it gains momentum. Thinking ahead and considering your staff’s future from the very beginning of the process displays how highly you value them, and how much you regret that you have to lose them. Beyond these benefits to those employees you have to let go, those remaining with you will also see that you have done everything in your power to look after them, both of which will help to protect your employer brand.

Mitigating legal risks

As anyone working in HR is no doubt aware, dealing with redundancies and employment law can be complicated and is subject to many changes and alterations over time. With that in mind, it is essential to ensure that you seek the most up-to-date advice on any legislation changes and ensure these are taken into account when considering redundancies. The CIPD often releases information of these changes, such as this summary of the major alterations in 2013.

Renovo’s award-winning career coaches will always help your employees with their career transitions. Our outplacement services get results – fast. Contact us now if you’re an employer with an impending redundancy situation and wish to support your employees through a difficult time.

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