Monday, 6 October 2008

Redundancy: Is there a positive future?

Some employers are quick to turn to redundancies when times get tough. The business case often used is: 1. We need to cut costs. 2. People are a big cost. 3. Let's get rid of some people.

Making people redundant is viewed as a risk but that risk is believed to be overshadowed by the need for business survival. In other words, without the cost saving of redundancies the business will fail.

There are undoubtedly circumstances where this is true but also true is the underestimation of the risk that redundancies pose to the business. Alongside this underestimation of risk on the part of the employer is an over-experiencing of difficulty by the individuals being made redundant.

Today's Times Online article - The day I was made redundant - is a good example. It describes the difficulties of the redundancy experience from an individual's point of view as well as the hit-and-miss nature of the organisational support on offer. So how could the experience be different on both sides?

Employers can identify the faults in their traditional responses and act with targeted solutions in mind. Employees can be offered support that helps them embrace and manage the opportunities that changing circumstances create for them. Risk and opportunity on both sides can be managed more effectively. Agreements can be made that address priorities within the context of success as seen from all sides.

For sure, redundancy will never be a perfect experience but it could be given a future more positive than its negative history might suggest.

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