If you are managing organisational change for the first time or you are faced with little alternative but to make redundancies within your team, be mindful there is a process proven to help engage all employees.

Effective planning and preparation minimises the risks and maximises the chance of achieving successful outcomes for all concerned. Here are the key steps:     

Step 1: Planning for reorganisation and redundancy

Before translating planned cost savings into redundancies and job cuts, there are questions to consider about optimising your workforce:

  • Are you getting the most out of your team?
  • Are there opportunities to improve staff performance and manage the staff impact on operational efficiency and the customer or patient experience?
  • What areas of the organisation need additional support and what are the key skills required?
  • How is the organisation addressing the opportunities to ensure the right people are in the right jobs with the right skill sets?
  • What processes are in place to protect and develop the top talent?

This process could prevent unnecessary job losses while kick-starting the career of other employees and allowing the organisation to retain key talent.    

Managed well, it will also broadcast positive signals to the workforce that the organisation is proactively managing the restructuring process. This should have a positive impact on employee engagement, unlike cutting costs without much prior consideration.

Step 2: Consultation process    

Every organisation has a legal responsibility to ensure it follows correct employee relations policies and procedures. The relevant consultation period for redundancies will vary depending on the number of likely losses.

If you have little or no HR support available to you, then it is essential that you seek expert and impartial HR and legal advice. Shortcutting the consultation process can be very damaging and result in employment tribunal claims. It will also disengage the whole workforce.

Despite these stringent legal requirements, our experience has shown that, even in large public sector organisations, managers often try to take shortcuts -ignorance is not an option.

Step 3: Managing selection and redundancies 

There are definite and stringent legal guidelines on how to determine your “at risk” category of employees and, most importantly, your criteria for final redundancy selection.

The more transparent the process and the better it is communicated and understood by all the at risk employees and followed through with honesty, compassion and integrity, then the greater the chance you will retain employee goodwill and engagement.

It is even more crucial that the correct policies, procedures and processes have been adopted and that line managers are working in harmony with HR to support the process and look at redeployment where practically possible.