If you haven’t already, you should inform the employees what is going on. You should outline why the redundancies are necessary, in which category they will fall and the procedure that will be followed to select them. You should specify the time period for the process as well.
It can be difficult to decide whether to tell all your employees or simply those affected. But the nature of businesses is such that whole workforce will get to know anyway, whatever you do. So generally speaking, it’s better to make a general announcement and then set up meetings with those affected.
When you tell the pool, you might consider asking if anyone would like to volunteer for redundancy. If someone steps forward it will avoid upsetting other employees and it might have the advantage of encouraging an unhappy employee to leave. However, make sure it doesn’t backfire on you. For example, someone with the skills the company needs might volunteer.
Making the selection
Once the pool has been informed you can make the selection. Apply the criteria consistently to each member of staff in the pool, documenting how you arrive at your final selection.
The next thing to think about is whether you can offer the people selected a position anywhere else in your business. If a vacancy is likely to appear in the future, consider delaying the redundancy until that time.
If you offer an alternative position, the job should be similar in skills, pay, benefits and working conditions.
During consultations, explain to each employee:
why the job is being made redundant
the selection criteria that was used
the timing of the redundancies
the likely amount of redundancy payment
any alternative positions that might be available
Make it clear that the final decision has not yet been made. You should then give the employees at least couple of days and preferably longer to think about what they have been told. The employees will then return and have an opportunity to challenge their selection or propose alternatives to redundancy.
Discuss and give due consideration to any proposals the employee makes, but remember that consultation doesn’t have to end in agreement. At the end of the process, if you have failed to come up with an alternative solution you can confirm the decision and issue a dismissal notice.
Breaking it to the employee
Being made redundant is a traumatic experience for any employee and must be handled sensitively. Try not to be too blunt or too vague, and fully discuss every aspect. You may not be experienced in these matters, so preparation is important.
There is much you can do to help the employee find another job, such as give time off to attend interviews, use your contacts to find vacancies and write references. Large companies often bring people in to help employees with their CV and job search – something you could do yourself if you have the skills. However much you try to help, though, it is unlikely to be an easy process.