In these unprecedented times, businesses have had to face tough decisions in order to survive and find ways to manage drastic changes. One of the biggest decisions any manager and business has faced is making staff redundant.
This is anything but an easy decision, and for many businesses it may also be the first time that such a choice has had to be made. It's completely understandable that these difficult decisions can lead to workplace stress and a feeling of unease - after all it does have a significant impact on people’s lives.
However, it could also be the choice that needs to be made to not only save the organisation but could also prove to enable change for the business as a whole. We will cover what these positive changes can potentially bring in our piece.
Better defined roles in the company
One of the positive elements that can come out of staff redundancies is a better appreciation of the current roles within the organisation. By that we mean, you get to audit the roles that remain and reevaluate what those job descriptions cover.
This better defines roles and equally, stops the duplication of tasks fulfilled by those within the organisation. By taking the time to analyse roles within the business you are clearly defining strengths and weaknesses within your team and focusing on areas where you can further develop or eventually bring in someone when you begin the hiring process in the future.
Defining roles is also an opportunity to sit with your staff on a 1-2-1 basis and go through their personal development plans, matching the requirements of the duties with expectations for the role. In turn, this can set out an updated personal development plan that goes to help build on strengths and improve areas where they may be struggling.
Wave goodbye to underperforming individuals or teams
Of course, whilst it's difficult to make people redundant, sometimes it's an opportunity to also take a look at how your business has been performing and making the necessary changes to those individuals or teams that aren’t fulfilling the required expectations.
In large organisations we see that team members can “disappear” especially if they are underperforming. However, when this is clearly the case on an individual or team basis, redundancy provides an opportunity for the business to address performance issues.
It may be that underperforming teams have always been that way. Moreover, it could be a pattern that has been set because it's either hard to spot or it's part of a wider culture within the organisation. Carrying out performance reviews, formal 1-2-1s and developing a personal development framework can address many of these issues.
Smaller teams and smaller organisations make underperformance easier to notice and harder to hide. Consider any team or organisation downsizing as an opportunity to spot where this happens and address immediately.
Potential promotions for high performers
When making redundancies you need to consider the structure of the new team and organisation that is left. For some organisations, this provides an opportunity to give high performers a chance to be promoted.
Not only will this create more of a buy-in to the organisation it will also help define roles within the structure - giving way to promote a better culture of hard work and recognising talent.
However, as a word of caution, this must be handled sensitively. You're making staff redundant which can cause internal disruption. Furthermore, you need to ensure that you're fulfilling the legal requirements in order to promote someone when a specific role has been made redundant. For example, you can’t promote an employee into a role that has just been made redundant but you can promote an employee into a new role that couldn’t be fulfilled based on skills or experience by the person that has just been made redundant.
Whilst making someone redundant is a difficult decision, it is sometimes necessary to ensure business survival. By taking this moment and seeing it as an opportunity you can better prepare your team for the positive changes that come from it and head into 2021 with a plan to achieve your organisational goals.
Enable change with Thomas
See our step-by-step Change Management guide for a more comprehensive breakdown on how to execute a successful change process.