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How do I avoid the pitfalls of restructures and redundancies?

Dealing with restructuring and redundancy can be daunting for any employer.

We help many employers to face that situation and move on. Sadly we also see redundancy programmes that have gone awry.

To help you avoid the pitfalls, here are our top tips:

  1. Plan this as a project – before you take action. Set tight but realistic milestones that work around the diaries of your key players.
  2. Write up your business reasons for the proposed change, including structure charts (before and after) and include financial figures like savings. Work out estimates of redundancy payments, whether statutory or enhanced by contract.
  3. Be clear on the procedure you’re going to follow. Take early advice from a lawyer to make sure you have planned a fair process that can withstand challenge.
  4. Watch that what you are proposing meets the legal definition of ‘redundancy’ – this can catch people out.
  5. Check whether what you are proposing amounts to 20 or more employees being made redundant over a 90 day period, to see if you need to do collective consultation, a more extensive process.
  6. Pick someone to lead the process who has good emotional intelligence.
  7. Think early on about whether you are going to invite volunteers for redundancy and if so what (if any) enhancements you will offer.
  8. Always prepare answers to the questions staff are likely to be worried about – be ready.
  9. To fairly select staff for redundancy:
  • Identify an appropriate ‘pool’ to select from – take advice.
  • Consult properly with people in the ‘pool’ – present proposals as just that – not as a ‘done deal’.
  • Use a matrix of objective measurable criteria to select people, focused on what you need for the future of the organisation, by way of skills.
  • Give proper thought to possible alternative roles for those affected.

In summary, plan the project, take advice, follow process and act with integrity to those affected.

Do also watch our video clip:

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