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How Workers and HR Should Handle Downsizing

Michael Moran, chief executive of Fairplace, a firm engaged by UK financial firms to smooth transitions for ex-employees, offers several pieces of advise to both sides.

    For employees, Moran suggests you:

  • Make sure you understand the terms of your redundancy deal before you leave the room - including whether any support services such as outplacement will be offered.
  • Tell your family immediately - they can help support you.
  • Take at least a few days to regain your equilibrium before you plan your next move.
  • Work out how long you can afford to be out of work and whether now is the time to pursue a complete career change.
  • Update your CV and start your job hunt. Looking back at all the great work you have done should restore your self-belief and confidence in your abilities. Remember, job hunting is about getting the right job for you, one that will enhance the CV and take you in the direction you want to go. It isn't just a case of getting a job or even the first one that comes along.

For HR professionals, he suggests:

  • Remember, redundancy affects everyone in different ways. Consider all eventualities.
  • Redeployment can work - don't dismiss it. Often, not enough is made of redeployment opportunities and talented, loyal staff will walk out of the door who could easily be redeployed leaving a costly recruitment necessity in another part of the organization. Being considered for redeployment can also help to alleviate the feelings of personal rejection and drives home the message that it is jobs that are restructured not individuals.
  • One big mistake that organizations make is to act as if these people are leaving the marketplace. They're not; they go to work for your competitors or clients and how you handled the situation affects their views of your firm.
  • Outplacement is proven to work in ensuring your employer brand remains untarnished.
  • Don't forget the impact of redundancy on those who are left behind. Empty seats/desks are a permanent reminder of friends/colleagues who have departed. Very often making people redundant means additional work for those left behind. Not unnaturally, they often feel angry and demoralized. You need to spend as much time and money on those staying as those leaving!
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