As an employer taking the decision to make redundancies whether a few or many is a tough, and one no business leader ever wants to make.  While we’ve been out of the last recession for a few years and have seen good growth within the UK economy, redundancies are still occurring. The recent collapse of Monarch Airlines is just one example.

As an employer it’s essential that you manage the redundancy process correctly.  Not only to protect yourself against any legal claims, but to make sure the process is smooth and fair as possible, for both those staying and going.

  1. Documentation –There needs to be a fair reason for any dismissal, so make sure you have evidence that redundancies were necessary and that the job(s) in question is no longer required. If you don’t there could be a case for unfair dismissal.
  2. Make the selection criteria clear and non-discriminatory– if there is a situation where some staff will be selected to remain employed, then make sure the selection criteria is clear and fair. Avoid highly subjective criteria such as ‘being good with clients’ and base decisions on clear performance based criteria.  Just as, if high levels of attendance is a necessity then you need to make sure you exclude any maternity related absences so as not to discriminate against that group.
  3. Make time to consult your employees – for a process to be fair, everyone needs to be consulted. Make sure there is enough time to have one-to-one meetings with affected employees to discuss the reasons behind the redundancies.  Remember to add in extra time so the process doesn’t feel rushed as often there is the need for more than one meeting.
  4. Gather ideas – speak to both those affected and those remaining as they might have ideas that could reduce the need for dismissals. For example, offering voluntary redundancy to both those affected and not-affected might reduce the overall number forced redundancies.
  5. Stick to the rules – rules are there for a reason. Before you start any part of the process make sure you’re clear on the steps you need to take and the rights of employees at every stage.  For example, you need to invite employees to a meeting to discuss the redundancies, at which they are allowed to bring a colleague or a trade union representative.  Failure to comply will automatically make the process unfair and leave you open to a legal claim.
  6. Check the fine print – make sure you read the small print in all contracts and are aware of any financial entitlements such as bonus payments, stock options etc that might be affected. Make sure that departing staff receive all they are entitled to.
  7. Helping those that are leavingbeing made redundant is a stressful process for all involved. To help reduce the stress and worry you can engage an outplacement provider.  Organisations, such as Chiumento, offer programmes that help those going through redundancy to find a new role as soon as possible. Find out more about the benefits of outplacement.
  8. Don’t forget those that are staying a redundancy programme can have an impact on more than just those directly affected. Those employees that are lucky enough to stay shouldn’t be forgotten.  Seeing their friends and colleagues upset and often competing against them for a limited number of roles will have an effect. Make sure they are included in any important communications and given the chance to discuss any concerns they may have.

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