One of the most significant factors in how well an employee takes restructuring news and moves on from their redundancy is how you, their employer, handle the situation.

When you handle it right and give your employee the compassion, respect and support they need, you will part ways in a healthy and positive way that will ensure you both move on successfully. But do it wrong, you can be paying for it for a long time. To help you avoid the latter, here are the six biggest mistakes employers make through redundancy.

Mistake #1 – Not taking the time to prepare

The redundancy conversation is not a conversation you turn up to and hope for the best. The success of this conversation is highly dependent on your level of preparation. You need to take the time to think about what needs to be organised before the day.

This includes having a conversation with your employment lawyer to be clear on your responsibilities, requirements and messaging, and engaging your outplacement partner to help transition staff immediately after the conversation. It is your preparation that will ensure the conversation runs smoothly and that your team get the support and closure they need.

Mistake #2- Not consider the timing of the redundancy conversation

While there is no such thing as a ‘perfect moment’ to deliver redundancy news, you can still consider the timing of it. Friday afternoons can appear to be the best time to have the redundancy conversation as employees can sneak away and have an extended time to gather their thoughts, but in reality, it is one of the worst times. Without the right support around them, the situation can sour quickly and bring you a whole lot of questions and problems on Monday.

Also, take into consideration other important or memorable dates for employees, no one wants to get redundancy news on their birthday, work anniversary or just before holidays and scheduled leave.

Mistake #3 – Not engaging an outplacement provider early

While you may think your outplacement provider is only there to serve your exiting employees, the truth is they can be a valuable resource to you in the preparation stage as well.

Your outplacement provider should be able to provide you with advice around handling the redundancy conversation and managing the wellbeing of your employees through the process. Talk to them early in the planning stages and consider having them onsite ready to talk to your employees after the redundancy conversation.

Mistake #4 – Assuming you know how an employee will react

Never make the mistake of assuming to know how an employee will take the news of their redundancy. While you may think that they will be fine, be happy to receive the payout or even be expecting the news, the truth is that you don’t know. People react very differently to the message, even if they have experienced change before.

When you assume to know how an employee will react, you risk under preparing for the conversation and not providing the employee with the level of compassion, respect and support they really need.

Mistake #5 – Treating redundant employees as threats

One of the most unfortunate mistakes employers make is to suddenly treat their exiting employees as though they are now a threat. While you will need to organise the return of equipment, sensitive information and supplies, this needs to be handled very delicately.

Exiting employees are already dealing with the shock and grief of redundancy; they don’t need to feel mistrusted and in the wrong too. While there is a chance that some employees will lash out by bad-mouthing a company, raiding supplies or even stealing information and clients, this isn’t commonplace. Best practice is to treat an employee with an approach of mutual respect and obligation. Make it clear what is expected of them as part of the termination process and the time lines that will apply to the return of property, vehicles and equipment are well understood.

Mistake #6 – Not organising support for you and your remaining team

Support for your exiting employees is a given, but don’t think they will be the only ones affected. The person who conducts the redundancy conversation may also need support, and a debrief at the very least depending on how the conversation goes.

Your remaining team should also have support if you want to ensure productivity and performance doesn’t suffer. Your team not only experiences the loss of a colleague, but they also share the added stress, pressure and uncertainty that comes from working in a company experiencing change.

Need help planning redundancies in your organisation?

With more than 7,600 people successfully transitioned into new roles, at Turning Point Partners we help you part on good terms with your staff by providing onsite support and tailored outplacement programs to transition staff easily into the next stage of their careers. Call us today on 1300 27 83 45.

For more tips on managing change, download the TPP HR Manager’s Toolkit.