Redundancies; Adopt the healthy choice to help harness talent.

Having analysed the scenario from every angle and now found that redundancies are the only way to keep the business moving forward. Here are six tips on outplacement, fulfilling the healthy alternative but with the added benefit of discovering new talent in your own back yard. Getting it wrong at this point will make matters worse where you could be making yourself stronger for the upturn.

Dawn Bailey of OsCar has many years experience in working with businesses to ensure that they derive the full benefit when they are faced with making staff redundant. Here she shares some of that experience to prepare your business for the future.

As an HR professional you know the law and the minimum requirements for compliance, however, you should look beyond this. Now is the time to have accurate, open and honest communications with your work force. Don’t ask employees to live with the fear of redundancy; if you know what’s happening – tell them. Remember that these are real people with real lives who will be frightened and possibly angry. Put your business case forward, if it makes sense to the business, it will make sense to your workers. Make sure the line managers delivering the news have been coached. It is vital that they should be sympathetic and clear; if this process is handled in a clumsy manner it damages both the employee and the company.

Check that the HR department have current experience of handling redundancy and change.

If not, then get help now. A professional can train your people and it will pay dividends in future productivity. Now is the time to roll your sleeves up and get involved to benefit those ‘at risk’, i.e. those singled out for a decision whether they stay or have to go. Beware the disaffected employees and those wanting to cash in on potential turmoil – nip it in the bud by knowing the law and move on – do not ask line managers to handle these people; this is where your professionalism counts most in saving the future of the business.

Do you have good measurable Outplacement service in place?

Your chosen Outplacement Provider should be on site when the announcement is made. When the news is delivered it will soften the blow if an independent professional is waiting in the wings and your people know that help is available. If this process is handled well it will reassure those not affected by knowing that the company cares about all employees. This is crucial to your employee retention and enables the company to be in a leaner and healthier state to face the future and avoid a repetition of the process later. There are free Outplacement services available but be sure that you don’t mistake “free” for worthwhile, we all know the adage about a free lunch.

Remember that you have already invested time and money on recruitment and training.

Galvanise those left behind to really get behind the company. If you have a number of people applying for remaining positions give them the same help you have provided to the redundant employees. A good outplacement company will have specialist coaches for just this sort of scenario and will enable you to select the best candidates to motivate and establish loyalty.

Harness the talent in the building.

Share as many objectives and long term plans of the organisation after the restructuring that you can; you will be pleasantly surprised who comes out of the shadows with good ideas and untapped talent. HR should adjust their strategy if past focus has been on recruiting; now it is all about talent spotting, development and retention. Think rewards and benefits and you will get high performance and fulfilment.

Focus on the real business needs because this is an opportunity for HR to shine.

Over the last few years and not a moment too soon, HR has finally got its feet under the table. Enlightened organisations have allowed their HR departments to have a real strategic role – it is now the time for HR to follow through and add real weight to the Board Room. This might involve bringing long term plans forward and being willing to adapt and work hand in glove with those departments once seen as ‘the enemy’ like finance. After all you all want the same result; a well motivated and happy workforce.

Dawn Bailey is the Senior Partner in OsCar HR Systems, based in Hampshire but operating throughout the UK and Europe helping businesses with unique Outplacement and Staff Development Coaching. She can be contacted via http://www.oscar-pbx.com/outplacement.html or by phone at 020 7043 1636.

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