Clarity and communication are integral to successful change. Whilst nobody enjoys delivering bad news, how the information is communicated can make all the difference and can reduce the negative impacts on employees. With the right skills and techniques, informing an employee of change can be delivered in a way that minimises the disruption, stress and worry to the individual and rather than being seen as a source of negativity, can actually create positive opportunities for individuals.
As humans, we are programmed to fear the unknown, and the potential perceived threats brought about by organisational change can quickly lead to extreme concern as people begin to expect the worst and fear for the safety of their role and future status within the organisation. It is important to alleviate concerns where possible whilst also being frank and upfront when required.
Before any communication with employees begins, leadership teams must be armed with as much knowledge, reasoning and understanding of the changes facing their teams as possible in order that they can convey this information clearly, concisely and with confidence. Having an understanding as to why certain decisions have been made allows a leader to deliver the message with authenticity and to front-up effectively when questions are put to them.
Leaders need to be aware that they have a legal (and moral) obligation to manage the redundancy process in a fair, open and transparent way. The desired outcome should be that everyone understands the justifications for the decisions that may be taken and recognises they are appropriate in the circumstances.
Everyone involved must know exactly what is happening and why. Equally significant is that each individual is fully aware of the support they have available to them at each stage in the process. If applicable, involve Union representation as early in the process as possible.
It is essential to convey that this a commercial reality and not a personal judgement. It is important to remember that it is a role at the company being made redundant, not the individual. Keep all involved aligned in this narrative so that when it comes to delivery, there is a consistent company message.
To support leaders through this daunting and complex time, organisations may consider the option of bringing in specialist support, helping them to navigate change effectively. The benefits to both your business and your employees are manifold.
For further advice and guidance on how to manage change and redundancy, including planning for change, the redundancy process and employee support options available download a copy of our guide to ‘Supporting your organisation through change and redundancy’ below.