Redundant Employees. Now What?

Redundant Employees. Now What?

If you run a company you know how difficult it can be when an employee’s position is no longer required and they have become redundant. It has nothing to do with their personality; it has to do only with their position and in many situations, the employee has been performing in an exemplary manner.

Redundancy occurs when the tasks and responsibilities assumed by the employee are no longer needed (i.e. the company has changed direction and focus) or you are doing things in a different way such as using new machinery or technology.

Yes, we are in an era of ever-increasing technological advances in which machines are now doing many jobs that were once executed by “humans.” We know this is progress but sometimes it just doesn’t feel “good”.

This is a dilemma being faced by many companies and it is a complex situation, especially for the Owners and Senior Management of small to mid sized companies.

Here are some practical tips if you are facing this situation:

  • Make certain this is a true redundancy and has nothing to do with your personal assessment of the individual or individuals involved in the decision. If you are uncertain it is best to consult a Labor and Employment lawyer so that you understand your rights and the rights of the affected employee/s.
  • Be fair and ethical. You cannot make someone redundant and then offer his or her job to another employee or bring in someone new to implement the job.
  • Try to keep the employee “in the loop” rather than springing it upon them. Chances are they have some inkling of what is coming down the road. After all it is impossible to believe that an employer will keep you on when your job is no longer required!
  • It is in everyone’s best interests to explore all of the options and see if there is another position available especially if they have been a loyal and high-performing member of your company.
  • Should there be no other options but to terminate their employment, make it a point to provide career counseling, outplacement support and even introduce them to a favorite recruiter that your firm uses.
  • Come to an agreement regarding their redundancy compensation. This might have been stated in their employment agreement; if not, you must work out an arrangement that is amenable to both parties.
  • Continue to assure the employee that this isn’t personal but is a result of a change in the position itself. If they have been a loyal and high-performing member of the company, write them a recommendation letter. If the employee doesn’t believe that this is a true and fair termination due to redundancy they may seek legal action.

Ending an employee relationship is never easy however if done correctly both parties will emerge unscathed and ready to move on.

From the November 2014 Unique Business Solutions Newsletter

November 5, 2014