For many people redundancy remains one of the most stressful situations they will ever face – on par with bereavement, separation from a long-term partner or moving house – so it is important not to underestimate the impact being made redundant can have on an individual and the support required to help them transition successfully.
Change, particularly where job-roles are affected, is a deeply personal issue. Not everyone will react similarly. However well it is communicated, the same message will be interpreted differently by each individual. Some will exhibit positive characteristics, understand the rationale for change and see the opportunities it may bring; others will not understand or agree with the need for change and may become fearful, withdrawn and disengaged.
It is also important to acknowledge that those delivering redundancy notifications or leading change programmes can also be in the pool of people impacted by redundancy, as well as their teams. This particular role can be a lonely one with much uncertainty around who they can turn to for advice.
No matter how well an organisation treats departing employees, it can be difficult to avoid the shock, anger, sense of despair and rejection which are all recognised emotions during redundancy. Moreover, given that we all process information differently, the amount of time it takes individuals to overcome these emotions can vary considerably too.
Being left to ‘go it alone’ doesn’t make it any easier. Whilst advice and guidance around job loss is widely available online, it is often outdated and clearly lacks context in many cases. People can struggle at this time and information overload can result in paralysis as individuals don’t know where to start or what their next move should be.
As such, one potential next step for an employer is to consider supporting those being made redundant to transition into a new career with the help of an external outplacement organisation. By providing these services to those impacted, employers show compassion, act responsibly and give their employees the tools and resources needed to navigate this period of uncertainty and change, whilst also providing HR teams and those responsible for delivering the message with a level of support which can prove to be invaluable.
For further advice and guidance on how to manage change and redundancy, including planning and communicating change, the redundancy process, breaking the news and employee support options available, download a copy of our guide to ‘Supporting your organisation through change and redundancy’: