If redundancies can’t be avoided, it’s important to put a proper process in place so that staff know what’s happening and to minimise the risk of expensive and lengthy disputes. Bell Taylor, the employment and HR specialists, have summarised their top tips around getting the process right (see below). The full blog on ‘carrying out a redundancy exercise’ is here.
- It sounds obvious, but try to do everything you can to avoid making people redundant. You may be able to redeploy people elsewhere within the business, or you can ask if they’d be willing to work reduced hours or take a sabbatical or secondment.
- Get to grips with what redundancy means in law, and what it will mean for you and your employees.
- Check if there are redundancy provisions in your employment contracts and /or policies and, if so, ensure you follow them.
- Work out the costs (with some contingency) vs the benefits.
- Be prepared. Plan the whole process thoroughly before you embark on it and keep it confidential within a small team until you’re ready to implement it. Plan how you’re going to announce it, have meetings with people, how to communicate with people that aren’t in the office, etc.
- Keep an open mind throughout. Don’t pre-judge and don’t make up your mind about who you think should be made redundant before you’ve gone through the necessary steps.
- Consider the potential ramifications of what you’re doing. Be aware that you could discriminate against or favour certain people unwittingly. Ensure there’s a level playing field.
- Keep written notes throughout, not just what’s said in meetings, but also your thought processes and the way you reach certain conclusions. Seemingly insignificant details can make a difference if you’re challenged later on.
- Continually ask yourself: is this the reasonable thing to do? Remember that a legally safe redundancy requires both a genuine redundancy situation and a fair process.