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How to treat employees with respect while making redundancies

Eden scott
You might have seen the news that Amazon has cut 18,000 jobs. The corporation has reportedly let go of 6% of its 300,000-strong workforce since November 2022. The cuts were deemed necessary because of a slow-down in sales following frantic hiring to meet demand during the height of the pandemic.

The impacts of Covid, Brexit and rising living costs are all contributing to the increase in redundancies across many sectors, both in the UK and globally. Layoffs within small and large companies alike are becoming all too familiar. 

Nobody wants to make job cuts, but sadly, they are a reality. However, there are some things that employers can do to navigate redundancies while being respectful to employees. 
 

Don't make it about you

We've seen too many examples of employers behaving unprofessionally during layoffs. The 'crying CEO' who posted a tearful selfie after making two positions redundant made headlines recently. Anecdotally, we've heard of bosses who've asked employees for sympathy while making their roles redundant.

While it's understandable that employers feel upset about layoffs, it's not appropriate to seek pity during this time. Employees are the ones who are worst affected, and whose feelings should be prioritised.
 

Be transparent

Now is the time for humility and vulnerability. If the company has lost a major client, experienced poor results or made a mistake with its projections, it's important to acknowledge this.

If redundancies are not due to poor performance, be sure to emphasise this to employees, who will be susceptible to interpreting layoffs as a personal failure.


 

Provide career support 

It might sound obvious, but employers should continue to treat their employees with respect after they no longer work for the company. 

Employees navigating redundancy will be scrambling to find a new role. If you can, it's well worth having a personal meeting with each one to provide advice about their next move, and help them to reflect on their core strengths.

Providing personalised recommendations rather than generic references could make all the difference to former team members seeking new employment.
 

Support remaining employees

While those whose roles have been made redundant will be struggling, don't forget that this will also be a difficult time for the remaining employees. 

Keep reassuring while being open and honest about the situation as it develops, and allow them time to process the layoffs themselves.
 

Final thoughts

Navigating redundancy is never going to be a pleasant experience for anyone, but being fair and respectful is always the best approach. 

While those being made redundant won't be happy, you can avoid creating further hard feelings by supporting them appropriately through the experience.
 

Next steps

If you’re making redundancies, hiring new employees is probably the last thing on your mind. However, a talented workforce is necessary for success. So, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Eden Scott to discuss your recruitment strategy. That way, when you’re in a position to hire again, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

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