Handling redundancies during the pandemic

Sadly, redundancies are an inevitable side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many businesses will have to face tough decisions around whether to permanently reduce their workforce going forward.

It’s always worth considering whether there could be a different option available. In some circumstances there are other workable solutions that can be implemented to completely offset the need for redundancies, reducing both stress and workload for all involved.

What are the other options?

Sometimes there are other options worth considering, for example could the business raise additional financial support through existing loans or borrowing? Are there any staff considering early retirement or who would be interested in reducing their hours?

Asking your staff can also generate new ways to save cost by looking at alternative ideas such as changing working hours, training, cutting overtime etc. Bear in mind that any changes to contracts would still require detailed consultation.

If you have to make redundancies

If restructuring and redundancies are the only option, it’s vital to take time to fully consider the longevity of any new plans before making a start. How viable would your new structure be in the long term, what is the impact on those teams remaining, how will it affect your customer relationships?

It’s also worth remembering there is a cost to administering redundancies, and the possibility of employment tribunals (incurring further costs) if they are not handled in the correct way. At the end of 2020 Acas, the CBI and the TUC created a joint statement on how to handle redundancies during the pandemic, and if you have to do them, advice on how to consult fairly and how to do them the right way. You can read more about that here.

Keep talking

Take a collaborative approach and try to be as open and transparent as you can be, with everyone rather than just selected groups. Allow time to properly engage with staff, listen to their concerns and invite alternative ideas to be suggested.

Try to be as honest as possible with those directly impacted, and don’t forget to communicate with those remaining too. The staff you retain also need to understand your decisions too, and by including them in your communications you are more likely to maintain motivation and engagement.

If your business has been affected and you need advice on how best to proceed, or you require support to implement your plans then our team are here to help.