At Risk of Redundancy ? .

It's not fair.😫 You've been thrown on the emotional rollercoaster of redundancy, you didn't ask for it, you're awesome at your job and you don't deserve this. I can't change that but having been there several times I have a few tips that might help.

8 minute read

just got told you're at Risk of Redundancy? Head still spinning 🤯? Management using terms like 'at risk', 'alternative employment' and 'consultation' and it doesn't make sense.

Take a min and just breathe.

No, really take a few long deeep breaths…

Ok, you’re probably feeling a whole range of raw emotions, expected or not, the news you just had, redundancy, creates a trauma inducing rollercoaster you didn't ask to get on. It's not fair, it's a horrible thing to hear and often carries with it immediate anxiety inducing fear. To top that language like “at risk of redundancy” is unfamiliar, uncertain, unhelpful and full of questions. This whole thing sucks and I imagine you feel pretty low right now. 💩

I cant make all of that feeling go away. But … I’ve worked in tech for years I got made redundant from my first job - I broke down in tears when I tried to tell my partner and in later years I’ve been given the job of making others redundant. I'll never forgot my experience and I can offer some advice on how to navigate the whole experience that might help you find a path back to sanity. 

What does ‘at risk of redundancy’ mean

In the UK🇬🇧 when a company needs to reduce their workforce its obligated by law to follow a specific process. This process sometimes feels really alien 👽 and a little odd, but it’s there to ensure that the company follows a fair process to select who is made redundant, it's there to protect you. The process can be immediate if your company is making up to 19 redundancies, if its 20 or more there is a legal process to follow that includes a period of 'consultation'. The consultation period can vary in length but must be no less than 30 days between being informed redundancy might happen and it actually happening. When you are informed your role is at risk it means that the company has decided that they are reducing numbers in your area and that you MIGHT be one of them. The concept of ‘might be’ isn't great. It means that for the consultation period you won't know for sure if you are going to loose your job or not.

What can you do?

  1. Take time ⏳ One of the biggest challenges when dealing with redundancy is the roller coaster of emotions that comes with it. Its really important to give yourself space to talk to your emotions and understand them allow yourself a few days to process it all, it's a grieving process and ideally it helps to try to get to acceptance before trying to think about whats next. If you’re on a week consultation this might feel quite rushed.

  2. Figure out where you are Once you're able to find clear space to think, it's time to work out what you want to do. If the first answer is ‘not loose my job’ followed by tears go back to step one! Now is a good time to get your head around the rules your company needs to follow (in the UK) - The UK Gov 🏛 has a great guide to Redundancy and your rights you are allowed representation and they are expected to support you finding a new job too. Some jobs are great, some bosses are amazing and sometimes its just a kickass location right around the corner, if for whatever reason you really don't want to leave the company there are still options, it might still end up with you leaving but jump down to the consultation advice if you want to stay. If on the other hand its just an average place, maybe your new, your boss wasn't that great or for whatever reason its not the special place you once thought it might be and you’re already accepting that you are probably going to get a new job you have an easier path from here - jump to Consultation (acceptance)

  3. Go through the process Redundancy processes are usually fairly similar - they can last a few months but usually either a week or month - shorter feels more painful but there is not a lot more that happens when its longer it just drags out the anxiety and the process. It begins with the 'at risk' notice meeting which is either a group or individual meeting. When the 'at risk' meeting is group you'll also be entitled to an individual consultation and a final meeting with a decision. You can be accompanied during the meetings and there will be a representative from HR usually taking notes.

Consultation (if you want to stay)🗣

The consultation period/meeting is when the company is expected to do two things:

  1. Inform you of the reasons why you are being made redundant

  2. Inform you of any alternative roles

Alternatives could mean a range of things including other roles that might suit your skills, changing hours to part-time, switching to different contracts, changes in salary, job-sharing etc

It may be that you are being asked to reapply for your own role, thats sometimes the case where numbers are being reduced but the role remains - go at it, the process feels horrible but now is the time for action. Get the role profile from your manager, ask about what they are looking for, reach out to the hiring manager for a chat. Make it clear to your manager and the HR team that you are really keen to stay, they are legally obligated during the consultation period to be open to suggestions. Take ideas to them if you can perhaps you could save money elsewhere? 💰 In some cases you will find a good solution however if there is no suitable alternative get ready for the next stage.

Consultation (you’ve reach acceptance)🗣

Its about your future now 🚀, time to get out and kick-ass.

The first thing to consider here - don't burn bridges! 🔥 - Redundancy is a turbulent time for everyone involved, some of the connections you make going through the experience might well in later life have opportunities for you or you them, the people who rise and help others in tough times are always remembered, now is your chance to be great 🦸‍♀️.

Maximise your time and make sure you start to reach out to contacts. Spend a few evenings browsing jobs, have a think about who you'd love ❤️ to work for It's always good to get an early call with a recruiter - don't jump at the first role but recruiters are usually full of enthusiasm and great for letting you know how buoyant the market is, there are loads of jobs!

Prepare questions, check your contract to be sure of your notice periods and start date. Redundancy pay is calculated based on years in service, it starts at 2 years if you've been there less you might not get anything - but you are entitled to your notice period pay and remaining holiday pay (usually pro-rata'd).

The final meeting. 

At the end of the process you will be invited to a final hearing where you are informed if you are being made redundant or not. 

Be prepared for this meeting - its often a tough one but ideally you want to be ready for the worst and hope for the best!.

Formally during this meeting you will have confirmed to you any redundancy pay, notice period and accrued holiday pay you are owed. It will be explained how and when equipment will be retrieved and access removed etc. You can also ask for things like personal contact information to be shared etc so that you can keep in touch with the colleagues who are yet to find out.

Last thing

People costs are almost always the largest cost base for a business, hiring is also expensive and often quite hard it doesn't make sense to loose people especially good ones like you.

Redundancy is not a personal process, (although it feels it!) its often a call taken far away from the people involved, its usually the very last resort and a tough decision. The teams involved will have often spent weeks frantically trying to find cost savings everywhere without anyone losing their jobs in no small part because its an awful thing to have to do .....if you're unlucky enough to work for a place where it felt like the decision was easy - maybe you are better off finding a new employer that values their employees.

Whatever happens know you are awesome, you will bounce back and the journey you go through will make you stronger. ❤️