By Kate Southam
Mondays are supposedly a better day than Friday to shed staff and waiting until the day of departure to let an employee know only doubles the pain. Google the topic of redundancy and you’ll find a range of tips designed to minimise the shock and gore of job shedding but how many Australian organisations get it right?
As redundancies in Australia continue, particularly at the banks, headlines have surfaced about employees finding out by email on the same day they were expected to leave the job.
While this might be more sensation than fact, top workplace lawyer Joydeep Hor told CareerOne.com.au that deploying a method of job shedding that was both fair and commercial was a “massively undeveloped skill” in Australia.
Mr Hor believes organisations need to place more focus on exploring more effective ways to balance fairness with commercial imperatives when letting people go.
“Many long standing employees have probably spent more time at that workplace than they have anywhere else including their own homes,” he says.
“What I would say is, has [the employer] really thought through the necessity of this approach? Have they explored some alternatives to the manner in which they effect the termination that recognises the strong emotional connection people have to their work?”
Mr Hor recommends employers use an approach that is as transparent, collaborative and trusting as possible to create good will between employer and departing employees. He says secrecy is out of date and should be replaced by informed decision making and, where possible, tailoring the exit to an employee.
He says that employers should also put more effort into exploring alternatives to redundancy.
An example of a collaborative and more commercial approach would be negotiating an early retirement with employees at that stage of their working life instead of making them redundant.
Best practice advice from around the world recommends telling employees of a redundancy in person via a manager or even the CEO. Employers should not use email, text message or Facebook. Also, it is supposedly better to convey the news on a Monday so those made redundant can use work days to make calls, go to outplacement sessions and generally get in the new job search mode.
Making people redundant on a Friday or the day before a holiday makes adjustment far harder and depression more likely. Making people leave on the day they are told of their redundancy is described as the method that will inflict most pain.
Managers also need to be properly trained on how to speak to employees and offer them support that is genuine.
Mr Hor also believes that redundancy is used as the easy way out when an employer wants to rid itself of a non-performing employee.
He says the practice is not business efficient and sends the wrong message to other employees who could see a redundancy as their due should they want to leave.
Managers need better training on how to manage under performers in a way that has minimum impact on other employees and day to day operations.
CareerOne.com.au, February 15, 2012