Redundancies are never a positive for a company, they can bring unease to staff and management alike. Before an employer gets to the redundancy stage they have gone through a number of emotional, analytical and objective stages evaluating a mass of different options and alternatives to avoid putting the company and their employees through a redundancy consultation. A company will rarely announce redundancies unless there is no alternative, however once announced meaningful redundancy consultation must then take place with the employees.
In addition to meaningful redundancy consultation you must consult on specific details, what you intend to do and why, the criteria for the selection process and ways to avoid/minimise redundancies and a projected timescale.
So what is meaningful redundancy consultation, when a company has evaluated what is best for the business and will have looked at the bigger picture and unless redundancies are made the company may be at risk?
ACAS state that you should listen to the employee and genuinely consider their suggestions which will give a better chance of finding alternative jobs for staff with the possibility of ideas and options surfacing that you hadn’t considered/identified previously.
I personally believe that empathy and transparency are key to a successful meaningful consultation, by allowing the employee the most up to date honest information pertaining to the case will allow the employee to go through the full evaluation process which the company will have done. If they can personally see and understand why the business has come to the redundancy conclusion they will accept and allow the consultation process to move forward. At times businesses look exclusively at the bottom line, and forget that there are people attached to each position, if you can humanise the process it will inevitably be better for all parties.
The above being said, sometimes there are no alternatives and to ensure the financial success of the business you must make the difficult decisions, regardless of the consultation process. If this is the case, being open and honest will allow you to reach the goal with as little unrest as possible.
If you do not consult correctly and don’t have meaningful redundancy consultation, you run the risk of having your full redundancy process however robust, being declared as an unfair dismissal, leading to claims being brought in front of the tribunal service.
We know that the redundancy process can be challenging so if you would like some helpful advice then please do not hesitate to call your HR professional.
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