Category Archives: Redundancy

handling redundancy effectively course
redundancy project management

Felixstowe Jobs Fair

The Felixstowe Jobs Fair is for all people looking for work in the Felixstowe Area. The Job Fair is a wonderful opportunity to come along and meet local employers – some of whom are currently recruiting – to ask questions and find out what work is available and what employers are looking for.

Employers include – Maersk, A&S Recruitment, Suffolk Independent Living, Savers, Home Instead, Maid2Clean, Job Centre Plus

There will also be local volunteer groups who have part-time opportunities available, find out about the vast array of volunteer opportunities including outdoor activities, drivers, local radio, youth groups, meet & greet, office administration and retail.

Volunteer opportunities include – Felixstowe Seafront Gardens Project, Volunteer Centres Suffolk

There are plenty of training courses available in Felixstowe. There are short courses, as well as full-time 3 year apprenticeships. Training providers will be on hand to help you find the right courses for you.

Free training courses include – computing skills, maths, English, employability skills and apprenticeships from ITS Training

Perhaps you are thinking of starting your own business? Come and find out about where to get advice, support and grants.

All this is taking place at Felixstowe Library on Thursday 1st November 2012, from 10.30am to 3pm. You are welcome to drop-in anytime during the day.

There are 3 sessions, each focusing on a different industry. You are welcome to come to one or all of them. In each session you can hear presentations and ask questions, so if there is a particular industry or employer you are interested in, please note the times below:-

  • 10.30am – 12pm – General Opportunities and Setting-up Your Own Business
  • 12pm to 1.30pm – Retail and Care Sector
  • 1.30pm to 3pm – Shipping and Logistics

How to minimise stress during a programme of redundancies

Speaking to clients recently, the challenge of how to minimise stress during a programme of redundancies came up several times. Here are some steps which can be taken to reduce stress, and the key words are honesty, transparency and consistency.

For the purposes of this article I am assuming that you have already taken the following three steps:-

a)      explored what can be done instead of making redundancies such as natural wastage, stopping/reducing overtime, offering early retirement (subject to age discrimination law), sabbaticals and secondments to volunteers etc, and communicated this process openly to all staff

b)      you have the redundancy procedure in place and it complies with all the employment law requirements (for specific advice, see below)*

c)      that your selection criteria can be seen to be fair and consistent (for specific advice, see below)*

So, having taken the above steps how can you implement the programme in a way that minimises stress, and so lessens damage to productivity and the reputation of the business?

There are three main groups of people involved in redundancies, and all have different issues and needs – staff who will lose their jobs, staff who are staying and the managers who will carry out the process. Senior managers should be aware of these different groups and treat each appropriately.

Effective communication is a vital part of any business, and during a redundancy programme, it is particularly important. Clear, regular communication is required, in language that the recipients can easily understand.

Communication methods obviously vary from business to business, and you will have to find what works best for you. My recommendation is to ask the staff! How do they want to receive communications? How often do they want up-dates, meetings or briefings? Find a way that works for your business.

Being honest with your staff to me goes without saying. However, I have seen cases where this has not happened, and trust is very quickly lost. Your employees are not stupid, and they know if you are being less than straight with them. For instance I see some businesses carry out staff consultations about various matters, when the decisions have already been made. Don’t do it! Only ask the staff for their ideas and opinions if you are in a position to act on them.

Senior managers and directors must present a united front during this time. They need to be well briefed and prepared to provide a full and consistent explanation of the situation to all levels of staff. It is also important that they know what information is available for discussion and when, so that the integrity of the programme is maintained.

Line managers are critical to the process as they are dealing with the informal and personal communication on a daily basis. Managers need to be given time to walk through their departments and spend time answering questions. They will find themselves repeating the message over and over, and need to be prepared to do this.

Staff who are leaving must to be treated with respect throughout the process. The business should ensure that there is a proper goodbye to those leaving, preferably with personal conversations and thanks from managers. If senior managers are available with some warm-words and handshakes, then all the better. All of this does take time, as the staff who are staying will see how their colleagues are being treated, and are more likely to retain their trust and respect for the business.

Provision of support to staff leaving is money well spent. This will help these staff feel valued and less hostile towards the business, thus avoiding any disruptive behaviour and actions. CLAssociates provides this support.

Staff who are staying need re-assurance and an understanding of the decisions which have been made. They need to be clear about what is expected of them in the future, especially where jobs roles and responsibilities are changing. Training needs may be reviewed.

Difficult conversations will be everyday occurrences for managers and they should be able to have these with sympathy and clarity. Training and 1-2-1 support for the managers is imperative. Providing independent support allows managers to express their own personal concerns, raise issues, explore their emotions with someone completely non-judgemental and removed from the business. CLAssociates provides this support.

So redundancies need not create so much stress, putting the above steps in place will be good for business in the long run.

Specialist HR Advice

If you would like specific advice on how to implement a redundancy programme from an employment law perspective, CLAssociates works with a network of HR specialists including the following who are happy to discuss your situation. Please contact any of the following directly:-

Rosemary Green – tel: 01553 829883, www.rosemarygreen.com info@rosemarygreen.com (King’s Lynn)

Hannah Breen – tel: 08456 809647, www.your-potential.co.uk hannah.breen@your-potential.co.uk (Bury St Edmunds)

Karen Woodbridgewww.hornetsolutions.com karen@hornetsolutions.com (Ipswich)

Kerry McGowan – 07970 489321 www.birchanger-hr.co.uk, kerry.mcgowan@birchanger-hr.co.uk (Bishop’s Stortford)

This post was written by Charlie Damonsing of CLAssociates. CLAssociates specialises in helping businesses manage stress in the workplace, providing consultancy, training and 1-2-1 support. For further details please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487.

Employability skills – what employers want

Do you remember your first job? You probably had a few holiday or weekend jobs before your first “proper” job. You learn so much about the world of work from all the jobs you have ever had right from the very beginning.

Now you are in a position to be interviewing and recruiting for junior staff, what skills are you looking for most?

Stress at WorkRecently, CLAssociates has been doing a lot of work with students who are about to enter the world of work. We also did a series of events last year to understand exactly what local employers want.

These are the skills that employers told us were most important to them:-

Reliability, enthusiasm, completion of tasks, punctuality, adaptability, initiative and co-operation.

The next most wanted requirements included good written and communication skills, and then right at the foot of the list was qualifications.

Our role has been to help the students understand that they don’t need a fist full of academic qualifications to be a “success”. What they do need is a good attitude, be able to present themselves well and to communicate with confidence.

How to Write a Great CV

We are all aware that employers who are currently recruiting, receive a huge number of CVs for every vacancy.  So you would think that applicants would be trying their best to submit clear and effective CVs. However, speaking to clients, this is not the case at all. Recruiting organisations have been surprised by the low quality CVs they have received, they are difficult to read, the layout is confusing, there are spelling errors and some are four pages long!

The low standard of CVs may be in part because there are thousands of people in the job market for the first time. Graduate unemployment is high, as well as former public sector workers who perhaps have not applied for jobs externally for many years. For those who are job hunting, it is essential that they have a good, clear, effective CV, and it is highly recommended that they get some expert help and advice.

As a start here are five tips on producing a CV which will get you through the first round of screening-

1.       Relevance – make sure that everything you put on your CV is relevant for the job you are applying for. This is particularly important for those who have had a long and/or varied career. Keep the job you are applying for in mind, and keep your CV relevant

2.       Concise – keep your CV to two pages at the most.  If you think you have more than this to go in, please review all the material and check for relevance (point one above), then put all the information into short, bullet points. Go through word by word, and ask yourself, “Is this really necessary?”. This will make the CV easier to review, and the person sifting through a huge pile will be able to easily pick out the key words they are looking for

3.       Spelling and grammar – make sure that the spelling and grammar is correct throughout the CV, get someone to double check your work before submitting your application

4.       Address to the correct person – find out the name of the person dealing with the recruitment for this job and make sure their name is spelled correctly on your envelope

5.       Covering letter - send a covering letter with every application. You can use a standard format of your own for this, the details of which can be changed for each specific job. The letter should include a paragraph explaining why you are interested in this job and what experience and skills you can bring to the role

The emotional ups and downs following redundancy

When someone is made redundant, there are a variety of emotions that they may experience. Some people are delighted to get out of a workplace that they never liked anyway, some have been made redundant many times before and they know the drill. Some people, perhaps experiencing redundancy for the first time, will go through a wide range of uncomfortable and challenging emotions as a result of losing their job.

Research shows that the emotions may fit into a particular pattern, which is called the ‘grieving cycle’. This includes a number of emotional states, which may be experienced in sequence but may also occur in any order, at any time.

Shock – the initial emotion may be shock due to the changes that losing the job entails. For some a job is not only a source of income but has a social aspect, provides a challenge, sense of achievement, brings status and routine. Losing a job can therefore be so much more than simply the loss of income. There may be a temporary feeling of numbness or disbelief.

Denial – this is common. The thoughts are that “This is not happening to me”, “There has been some kind of mistake”. During this phase the individual is not dealing with the practical issues that may arise, such as adjusting household spending. Also, they are suppressing their emotions.

Anger – which can be used positively if translated into attitudes such as “I’ll show them” or “I can get through this”. Channelling this source of energy can be very productive and focused. However, anger is more destructive if it is turned on other people, the former employer or possibly family and friends. Anger can also be misdirected to blame others for the situation and not take responsibility for what comes next.

Despair – this is the time when there is grieving for the loss that has occurred. Perhaps a loss of status, colleagues, lifestyle, routine, purpose, satisfaction, challenge or a sense of belonging. This stage can lead into depression if it is not addressed. The feeling of loss needs to be identified and steps taken to put other things in place to fill the gaps, such as volunteering, hobbies, social activities.

Acceptance – at this stage the individual accepts the changes that have happened and they have addressed the main issues which have occurred as a result. The idea of moving on becomes a reality and they are ready to begin thinking about it.

Excitement – looking forward with energy and enthusiasm about the opportunities available and exploring new ideas that had previously not been thought of.

Tips on how to get through redundancy:- (these are much easier said than done, but worth keeping mind as you go through the early weeks of being out of work)

Allow yourself time to grieve

See redundancy as a positive opportunity for change

Write down your feelings

Review your finances and make adjustments if necessary

Look after yourself, keep fit and watch your health

Keep busy and have fun

Be social and get out of the house!

This post was written by Charlie Damonsing of CLAssociates. CLAssociates specialises in helping businesses manage stress in the workplace and provides redundancy support. Cconsultancy, training and 1-2-1 support. For further details please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487.

What can organisations do to help those being made redundant?

When an organisation is making redundancies, there are many business reasons why this process should be made as easy as possible for the staff who are leaving:-

  • Uphold the reputation of the organisation – with customers, future staff, local community and industry
  • Maintain the morale of the remaining staff
  • Reduce any negative impact on productivity and customer service levels
  • Minimise any potential for legal actions against the organisation

Of course, from the individual’s point of view, any support and help which can be provided may make a huge difference to how they deal with this dramatic event, and will improve their attitude towards the organisation

Here are a few things which the organisation can do:-

Be Flexible with Time – allow staff time to look for their next job, such as attending outplacement service sessions (see below) and interviews with potential employers

Allow Internet Access to Job Search Sites – there may currently be blocks on internet access to job search sites. This should be lifted for staff so that they can use their lunch hour to advance their job search. The same should go for the use of the telephone, within reason, staff should be allowed to take calls if necessary

Outplacement Services – these services may include workshops or 1-2-1 sessions for staff to discuss their next career move, write CVs, prepare for interviews, learn financial management etc (for CLAssociates’ Redundancy Support Services)

Access your training contacts – your organisation will have contacts with training providers. Use these to help staff access training courses which may help them find another job. The organisation may also help towards the cost as part of the redundancy package

Use of facilities – the outplacement services may be best provided on site. The workshops and 1-2-1 sessions will require the use of meeting and interview rooms

References – the organisation should be prepared to provide the best references possible within individual circumstances

Keeping Employees in the Loop – when members of staff are leaving, they should not immediately be left out of what is going on. The organisation will need a smooth hand-over of work and knowledge if possible. This will require careful handling and managers should take care to invite the staff to the usual group/team meetings and to speak to them on a regular basis so that they do not become isolated, uncooperative or disruptive.

This post was written by Charlie Damonsing of CLAssociates. CLAssociates specialises in helping businesses manage stress in the workplace and provides redundancy support. Consultancy, training and 1-2-1 support. For further details please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487.

How to support the managers managing the redundancies

At the moment, many people in the public sector are dealing with a redundancy process for the first time. In the past few weeks I have been talking to many HR professionals and operational managers in this situation, and have been reminded that it is not only the staff “at risk” who are deeply affected by what is going on.

So what can organisations do to support their managers during the challenging next few months?

1.       Make sure managers are fully briefed

Clearly, the managers who are making the announcements and holding the initial meetings need to be fully briefed on the redundancy process. However, the operational managers and team leaders also need to know what is going on and when. They are in daily contact with their staff, and will inevitably be asked many difficult questions. They need to know the timings of announcements, press releases, meetings, issue of notices, consultations, union communication and all the other steps which are taken. Rumours flourish in a redundancy situation and misunderstandings can be very damaging. So make sure the managers all know exactly what is going on so their communication is clear and accurate.

2.       Explain the bigger picture

Operational managers in the public sector have not made the decision that jobs need to be cut, and in many cases they may disagree with the strategy. This puts them in a very difficult position when they are dealing with their staff. Managers should, as far as possible, be given the bigger picture ie. the overall budget and targets, so that they can understand why certain decision have been made. This will help them explain the situation to their staff with confidence and conviction.

3.       Know where to get further information

Once at risk notices have been issued, all staff will have plenty of questions. Managers need to know where they can direct staff to for further, specialised information. Staff will want to know about pensions, redeployment options and support in finding another job for example, so managers need to know where the staff can access this information.

4.       Individual support for managers

Some managers will be anxious about the reaction of some of their team. They may be unsure how to deal with people who cry, get angry or make the situation personal. Ensure that there is someone that managers can talk to about their concerns, and help them plan and prepare for difficult conversations.

5.       Keep an eye on business as usual

As well as dealing with redundancies and the consequences, managers are also having to provide services and meet targets. They need support while they adjust to their reduced resources. They will also require all their management skills to maintain the motivation in their team while the changes are taking place. Again, managers should have people they can talk to, to discuss their new challenges and how they can best provide services in the current situation.

The next few months are going to be very challenging for managers in the public sector. Senior management and HR can make the redundancy process easier by providing effective support for the managers on the front line.

Your rights if made redundant

Redundancy – there is a lot of it about. If you or someone you know is being made redundant, it is important to understand your rights. Here is a summary giving you some brief information about the process and how it should be handled by your employer - Your rights if made redundant

CLAssociates can help you if you have been made redundant. We can help you:-

  • deal with the financial implications of you losing your job
  • come to terms with the emotional fall-out of your situation
  • work out what you would like to do next
  • up-date your CV
  • identify transferable skills
  • carry-out job searches
  • prepare you for interviews

Contact us at charlie@classociates.org.uk to find out more.

This post was written by Charlie Damonsing of CLAssociates. CLAssociates specialises in helping businesses manage stress in the workplace and providing redundancy support. Consultancy, training and 1-2-1 support. For further details please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487.

What you need to know about making redundancies

In the last couple of months I have come across an increase in redundancy situations, both in the public sector and in small, local businesses. In Suffolk, my County Council is committed to divesting the majority of it’s services, and so making thousands of posts redundant.

Good, regular, clear communication is crucial during a redundancy process. Everyone needs to know what is going, when and how. This way the process can be carried out as smoothly as possible and the potential for misunderstandings, which can lead to costly and time-consuming tribunals, is minimised.

Employers need to be clear about the steps that they have to take. If you are an employer, I would strongly recommend that you seek specialised, legal advice from an HR expert. I know a couple of experts that I would be happy to refer you to.

For an overview of the steps you should take, including checklists and timescales, have a look at the guidelines provided by Acas – Acas Redundancy Guidance

This post was written by Charlie Damonsing of CLAssociates. CLAssociates specialises in helping businesses manage stress in the workplace and providing redundancy support, consultancy, training and 1-2-1 support. For further details please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487.