Redundancy advice for SME business leaders

During the next few months business leaders are going to be facing the challenge of having to make employees redundant. It’s not something that they want to do and in most cases the decision will have arisen as a consequence of circumstances that are outside of their control. 

In my experience, in situations such as this, where business leaders have to take actions that they really do not want to have to take, they struggle.

Managing a redundancy process requires balancing legal obligations, with wanting to ensure that employees are treated fairly and reasonably and being mindful of how actions will be perceived by those who are remaining with the business. 

There are a number of things to consider. These include but are not limited to: 

  • Determining if a situation of redundancy exists.
  • Considering if redundancy is the best option.
  • Defining redundancy; is it the person or the job?
  • Formulating a redundancy plan.
  • Communicating with all the workforce.
  • The difference between “at risk” and “redundancy”.
  • Consulting with employees.
  • Managing the process of selection.
  • Preparing correspondence.
  • Treating those who will be redundant with dignity and respect. 

Although each of the above is a subject by itself, they are all conjoined and collectively form part of the many factors that employers have to face when having to consider managing redundancies. 

In my experience the first, and most important step, that an employer should take is to recognise that they may be facing a situation of redundancy. 

Having done this, they should then seek advice on the action to take. This starts with having a conversation with an experienced practitioner who can advise them of the options that are available, including, alternatives to redundancy. 

In speaking with business leaders throughout my career, they agree that taking these two actions help them to feel more in control and confident in addressing the situation they may be facing. 

They tell me that it’s the advice they would give to a client – which is why I am confident in giving it to them.



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