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Friday, 04 November 2022 15:11

The Risk of Redundancies

Despite the UK still being in the position of record employment according to latest figures, this week’s rise in interest rates and the forecast by the Governor of the Bank of England that we are hurtling towards the longest recession since records began, are a worry for us all.

In its efforts to bring inflation under control, the BOE’s interest rate rise will affect borrowers and mortgage payers, the latter of which is likely to hit renters too as landlords look for ways to cover rising costs. As disposable income reduces, demand for goods and services will weaken and leading to inevitable job losses.

We all hope the BOE Governor is wrong of course, but he is just one voice amongst many who are forecasting a gloomy outlook for the UK economy, and indeed, the wider, global outlook.

Making the decision to cut jobs is unenviable, gut-wrenching choice for any business owner or senior manager to have to make. Nobody wants to put people out of work. The longer-term survival of the business overall must be the main consideration however, to maintain jobs that can be sustained and hopefully put the business in a position from which it can grow stronger again and rebuild.

If and when the time comes to make redundancies, implementing a process is carried out transparently and equitably is paramount. There are legal responsibilities of course, but moreover, the welfare and mental health of everyone who is involved must also be considered. Going through the redundancy process is always going to be a stressful experience for all parties, particularly when the job losses are not attributable to any acts of wrongdoing or poor management.

Whenever redundancies occur, the main factor to remember is that it is positions that are made redundant and not people. Therefore, where a position or job role is identified as being redundant and more than one person is currently employed to fulfil it, implementing a fair selection process, coupled with the appropriate consultation period for the numbers being made redundant, is a must.

We recommend that employees who are to be put at risk of redundancy are scored against a ‘selection matrix’ that awards points for each requirement of the redundant position. This should include skills, qualifications, track record and experience and best practice is that scores are agreed with each employee. This takes some of the emotion out of the process and results in a much, robotic, statistically driven result.

The scoring could include minus points for poor attendance and any history of disciplinaries, so your most committed staff stand the better chance of keeping their jobs. The lowest scores are those who are dismissed.

Below is our previously published list of key considerations, but these are really just a guide to help steer you clear of some common redundancy pitfalls. If a restructure looks like it’s on the cards however, you should speak to us for specific and more detailed support.

  • Give full and careful consideration to your business case rational and which employee groups are at risk
  • It is not an easy process for you or your staff, so getting the communication strategy right, including a consistent message, cannot be overstated
  • Remember it is always jobs that are at risk of redundancy, never the person
  • You’ll need to formally open a consultation for two to three weeks if less than 20 jobs are at risk
  • You’ll need a selection criteria that’s fair AND transparent and stands up to scrutiny
  • Conduct meaningful 1-2-1 meetings; preferably face to face and if your using technology, find a platform that allows this
  • Employees have a right to request representation at all 1-2-1 meetings. This can often be helpful for both parties
  • Once consultation is closed and you’re giving formal notice of dismissal hearings, be sure to follow the correct procedure including adequate notice, the right to representation and the right of appeal
  • You don’t have to have all the answers on the spot. It’s OK to come back later
  • Keep notes of all discussions with staff, and send confirmation

We’re hoping that things won’t get as bad as forecast, but if redundancies look inevitable we recommend that you don’t delay. Putting off those tough decisions will mean your business continues to throw good money after bad making it less sustainable for employees who remain. By acting quickly, you’ll also be giving those employees you do have to let go the pick of the existing vacancies.

We have a redundancy pricing matrix structure available here, so you can see the potential costs in engaging us to support you should the need arise. We also have a range of documents available in our toolkits.

In the meantime, if you require support or have any questions, please call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read 1052 times Last modified on Friday, 04 November 2022 15:15

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