It seems that no week can go by of late where we do not receive a call relating to redundancy.

1406027792_pillsSo….you’ve made the traumatic and difficult decision to make an employee redundant , you’ve been through the even more traumatic process of telling them and now you are PRETTY SURE that they think you are lower than….[insert your own descriptive words here]!

Firstly, are you making your employee’s redundant for the right reason(s)?

Remember that “redundancy” is not there as a handy replacement alternative for poor performance management (or even ‘no’ performance management!!) of an underperforming employee – albeit that this may present a more palatable option for both employer and employee in certain circumstances.

Redundancy IS a consultative process – it’s about operational decision making bound in a lawful process which many businesses and organisations of all sizes must manage every day of the week. Your process should be able to demonstrate a step by step approach that has lead you to the decision to make an employee’s position redundant – and remember that fundamentally it is about position not ‘person’. This means documenting what you do and what you say and following an effective timeline so that staff are part of a transparent and open process bearing in mind any potential commercial sensitivities. Place yourself in the employee’s shoes – how would you like to be treated if it was you going through the process?

There is currently a much broader interpretation being placed on the concept of exactly ‘what’ comprises a redundancy. With the advent of the Global Financial Crisis terminations due to economic downturn were taken also to be a form of redundancy. For SME’s with 15 or more staff suffering severe cash flow downturns and loss of contract this caused further hardship for businesses which were struggling to remain afloat and then having to find severance payments.

It is worth remembering that if you employ less than 15 staff then a Severance Payment is not applicable but if you employ more than 15 or more staff, then Severance Payment is based on years of service.

Morally and ethically the law is one thing, but as an employer of choice you might decide that something ‘extra’ is applicable in terms of support that you might provide. Particularly if your departing employee has been with you for many years and you feel deserves more than just what the law dictates.

While you have asked for the return of the company vehicle, tools, uniform and porta-dunny key, there is something you can actually give them beside the proverbial “pink slip”. Hold back on suggesting they don’t let the door hit them on the backside as they leave……(editor’s note this should only come to mind if you are terminating for serious misconduct!)
Is there something you could do that just might be of some help to the person who has been affected by your decision that may be of positive benefit amidst the negativity? Well there is, but more on that in a minute.

So, back to helping with the ‘bitter pill’ and that notion of additional support…..

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Give up?…..We’re referring to the support services that are actually useful to an employee transitioning to new employment or career. Typically these services consist of a resume writing service, employment application letter advice, assistance with interview techniques, and helping with practical job search information. Services may extend to offering career counselling services, financial or retirement planning and specific skills training. All of these services are designed to help transition an employee through redundancy, and into what is for the most part a large and overwhelming job market. This also sits well with employee well being and the increasing emphasis being placed on mental health as it relates to the workplace. Remember that July is ‘Tradies National Health Month’ – with a focus on physical and mental well being and safe workplace practices.

If you are considering redundancies or have questions about how you can support exiting (or existing) employees in your workplace talk to Karina about how we can assist you on 9792 4451 or email