How to Support the Wellbeing of your Employees during Redundancy
Many organisations are finding themselves in highly difficult circumstances where restructuring is becoming inevitable. In many cases there is no choice but to make redundancies. However, what you can control, is how the redundancy process is managed to ensure that the wellbeing of your employees is considered every step of the way.
Taking a “people first” approach to the redundancy is not only the right thing to do for those affected, but it also sends a message about the type of organisation that you are as well as giving confidence to those that are still working for you and those that may consider joining you in the future.
Going through redundancy is a very challenging and emotional time for the individuals directly involved, but also those in management and leadership positions. Here are our thoughts on the steps you can take to manage this process in the most empathetic way possible and to give maximum support to your people.
How to support those affected by redundancy:
Communicate regularly - a lack of communications will make employees feel even more anxious so communicate as often as you can with lots of opportunities for Q&A session and sharing information relating to the process.
Give individuals some time and flexibility - think about giving individuals the opportunity to go home after the initial consultation meeting and consider how you can support employees wellbeing on an ongoing basis with time off or flexible working if needed.
Signpost to wellbeing support available - if you have an employee assistant programme, let them know there is a redundancy process taking place and ensure all individuals know how to access this support. Signpost to other programmes that you might have available and consider putting on some additional programmes to support employees such as counselling or workshops on building resilience or managing change.
Provide financial wellbeing support - one of the immediate thoughts of those impacted will be how they will afford to live when made redundant. Think about providing financial wellbeing support who can help individuals with their personal financial situation, if this is not an option at least research organisations where you can signpost individuals to for help.
Provide outplacement support - particularly in the current job market, finding work is going to be hugely challenging, by working with an experienced outplacement provider you can ensure all of those affected have the best possible chance of finding a new role quickly.
How to support those leading the redundancy process:
Give support to those that will be leading consultation meetings - it is also really difficult for those that are delivering the communications; give training and support to those leading meetings on how to listen, how they can support individuals personally as well as professionally and how to empathise with individuals. Also have 1-1’s with these individuals to check in with their wellbeing and be sure to remind them of what other wellbeing support is available.
Be visible - as a leader within an organisation you need to be visible and offer up opportunities for people within the organisation to talk to as well as leading key business wide communications and meetings, this will help to rebuild trust between employees and the leadership.
Those individuals that are not affected:
Communications - whilst there will be many in the business whose jobs are not at risk, that does not mean these individuals will not be impacted by the situation. Ensure you communicate regularly bringing people together to have these conversations, provide opportunities for Q&A sessions and provide FAQ’s.
Prepare for emotional responses - whilst there may initially be relief felt by ‘survivors’ this may also lead individuals to feel guilt and anger and can lead to a lack of motivation, engagement and productivity. Talk to individuals about how they are feeling and again signpost to the support available for them to access.
Track engagement - even after the process has been completed consider running some pulse surveys or focus groups to understand how individuals are feeling and whether there are any longer term impacts of the redundancy such as significantly increased workloads or reduced engagement which need focus and attention and build this into your ongoing engagement strategy.
In summary, communications are key for all individuals within an organisation when a redundancy process is taking place. Having an employee centric, personalised and 1-1 approach that ensures everyone is treated as an individual and they are supported through the process is a must for responsible organisations. Getting specialist and expert support and signposting everyone to the people that can help them will ensure as positive an outcome as possible for all concerned.
It’s a very difficult time but using experienced partners can really help, to talk through how we might be able to help, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing, Next Steps Consulting