HOW TO MAKE SOMEONE REDUNDANT IN A SMALL BUSINESS
As an employer you know that redundancy is difficult for any employee, but it’s also difficult for you. In this blog we’re realistic about what is a hard situation for you as an employer and how to handle what is a stressful painful event in your business life.
Redundancy isn’t a choice. You’re only going to make an employee redundant because the job they are doing no longer exists. That might be because of a general reduction in work needing to be done or created by a change in business strategy which impacts on all roles. A decision on what is best for the business means a role is no longer needed. Redundancy is and should always be, a last resort.
Losing staff is never going to be good experience for any business, but it’s particularly difficult for a small one. When there’s less than 20 people working together you build a close team. You get to know each other. You rely on each other. You know that Peter from accounts is getting married next year. He has shared his plans with you. You know that probably won’t happen if he is made redundant.
As an employer, you know it’s up to you to make redundancy as straightforward as you can. The buck stops with you. So, let’s look at some things that will help you make this happen.
(1) Know and understand the redundancy process
Redundancy isn’t another way of “getting rid” of an employee. Redundancy is a dismissal because jobs are no longer available. Get it wrong and you will get taken to an employment tribunal. That’s why you need to follow a balanced, fair and objective process.
Make sure that you know and understand the whole redundancy process before you start. Plan what you need to do and the steps that you need to take. We all feel better when we are clear about what’s happening.
As a small employer the strict redundancy process laid down by law may not apply to you. However, there are things you can adapt to help your business and everyone in it.
(2) A last resort
Part of the redundancy process means that you must look at all viable alternatives to save jobs. Do your research. Talk to your accountant. Talk to other employers. Look at how creative you can get in your business. For example,
- Are there any government schemes that could help you meet the wages bill?
- Is short time working an option?
- Can any employee be retrained?
- Anyone looking to take early retirement or a sabbatical or secondment?
- Would restructuring pay across all staff help?
The redundancy process is hard. Talking to your employees about redundancy is difficult. It’s probably happening when you are already facing a difficult time in your business. No matter how hard it is, talking to employees is going to be a difficult conversation. It’s one you need to have sooner, rather than later. Putting it off will not help. It will usually make it worse.
Make it easier by taking the time to prepare yourself before you talk to your employees. Aim to be
- Clear and focused
- Ready to discuss and listen to your employee’s view and opinions
- Ready to really listen to what your employees have to say
It’s important to involve your employees in the redundancy process from the beginning. It’s not just about letting people know they are “At Risk” of redundancy. All your employees will be worried too.
It’s up to you to avoid whispered and speculative conversations between staff that only bring disruption and upset.
Think about ways you can support your employees. Even if you’re strapped for cash you can find free support.
- What can you do to help? For example, can you or one of the team help with updating CVs?
- Find out what’s available to help redundant employees in your area
- Talk to other local business. Are they hiring? What can your local recruitment agencies offer?
- Find out what support is available – for employees being made redundant, and those still working
Redundancy is never going to be easy but, thinking it through and being properly prepared will help.Talk to us by phoning 01244 300413 or emailing us at [email protected]