Chances are, if you clicked on this article after reading the headline, your role may have been made redundant recently. You might also be a leader in an organisation trying to manage widespread redundancies and are keen to understand how it may feel for those that have been impacted. Either way, please read this article as the messages apply to both scenarios.
Whether you are making this decision or whether your role was made redundant, a key message is: shift your mindset to your future because redundancy is now more common than ever. As a leader, you need to ensure you manage the process well – skip down to the ‘stepping into your leadership when managing redundancies headline.’
Reality is, we all need to get comfortable with the word ‘redundancy.’ As technology continues to evolve and advance and the workforce changes, restructures and consequential redundancies are almost inevitable.
It wasn’t too long ago (I can still remember the days) when being impacted because your role was made redundant was quite taboo. People didn’t even talk about it because if you were impacted, there was likely a lot of shame attached to the outcome. On the other hand, if you knew someone who had this experience, you wouldn’t want to bring it up and find yourself engaged in a rather awkward and potentially emotional chat.
In 2018 and looking ahead, all bets are off. These days, it’s common for organisations to regularly restructure, downsize or whatever else you want to call it. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on an individual’s unique circumstance), there is collateral damage involved: humans. We need to realise that redundancy is the new normal and remove the personal element from the equation: it’s not the individual that is being made redundant, it’s the role. Perhaps the role has changed or simply isn’t needed anymore. Don’t worry, I understand if you’ve experienced this and are rolling your eyes at my words: it’s hard not to take it personally.
You can’t control what you can’t control in life. You can control your reaction to every situation though. Give yourself the time you need to absorb what’s happened, the messages that have been sent your way and the impact it will have on you and your loved ones. This is a time to be kind to yourself and exercise self-care above all else.
Before you put yourself out there into the market again, make sure you’re refocused and ready to move onto the next phase of your career. Don’t necessarily continue with the same, realign thinking and ensure you position yourself for what you want now!
If you’ve got the opportunity to take a break without putting any extra pressure on yourself, go ahead and do it. This is the perfect time to have some time out and ask yourself a number of important questions:
- Is this an opportunity to realign your thinking about your future, including your role and skills?
- Are you open to doing something completely different? So many people answer this question with a big yes!
- At this point of your career, what is your career currency looking like? Think about the connections/networks/skills/achievements and so on that you have built over your lifetime. It’s also wise to think about the areas in which you’re lacking and what employers are looking for both now and thinking ahead to another 3+ years.
It’s all about doing the deep work and listening to that little voice inside you about what’s next. If you’re looking for support or find yourself struggling, know that you’re not alone. We can help you to transition or start completely fresh but you need to take the first step and reach out to us.
Stepping into your leadership when managing redundancies
A key facet of true leadership is effective and clear communication and handling any redundancy situation is no exception. Reinforce to the relevant individuals that it’s not personal and explain the ‘why?’ behind the business decision. Is the role no longer required? Have the KPIs changed so much that it’s been deemed someone with a different skill set is needed to adequately perform the job?
The best leaders have the ability to feel empathy for their team. You’re not dealing with numbers, you’re dealing with people who have thoughts and feelings and are likely to have families to support, mortgages/rent to pay and other responsibilities. Acknowledge the realities of the difficulties the impacted individuals may be faced with and offer support however your organisation can. Usually, best practice involves staff being told before the redundancy comes into effect. This benefits both parties - it may turn out that the individual can remain within the organisation in a different capacity (redeployment) or are relieved.
If it is decided that an employee’s employment will no longer exist due to redundancy, think about simple ways that you can support them:
- Think about any contacts within your network that may be useful to pass on
- Consider whether the provision of confidential counselling and health support services are appropriate
- Offer Career Transition (Outplacement) programs and/or workshops to support and prepare impacted employees – note OnTalent will help with this and if you would like to read our White Paper on this, please contact me.
Reality is, redundancies happen… whatever side of the scenario you’re facing, take the time to stop and consider what you want to do next. Either way it can be confronting.
Each of us is responsible for our own career, no one else. Regardless of where you find yourself in this moment, your future is bright so believe in yourself, have a plan, execute the plan, and be patient. Make contact with us.
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader in Executive Careers. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring, and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose.
Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746. www.ontalent.com.au