10,000 people are forecast to be made redundant today, according to outplacement firm Randstad RiseSmart UK.
As the Covid crisis continues in the face of a potential hard Brexit, the UK faces the worst recession in 300 years. Randstad RiseSmart says, based on their experience of the outplacement market, 9,550 people are expected to be laid-off in the space of one working day – making the 7th December the worst day of the year for layoffs in the UK.
In the three months to September, redundancies reached a record high of 314,000 according to the ONS – an average of 4,800 per working day. But Randstad RiseSmart forecasts that number will rise by almost 99% on the 7th – branded Black Monday by
redundancy professionals, as small to medium sized firms as well as larger organisations cut back ahead of the New Year.
Simon Lyle, UK managing director of Randstad RiseSmart said, “The economy is set to shrink 11% this year, the most it has done since Queen Anne sat on the throne 300 years ago. Not only that, but businesses are starting to deal with the medium term economic fallout of the pandemic – grappling with the fact that the economy may not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2027. While the first week of December is always a bad time for layoffs, the economic outlook for the turn of the year means employers will be making more redundancies than ever. Requests for support with career transition services are at an all-time high. And this isn’t just the big name retailers we’ve seen so much of in the news – this is all sorts of businesses, across different sectors – who are having to make
some very difficult decisions.”
“The economy is set to shrink 11% this year, the most it has done since Queen Anne sat on the throne 300 years ago.”The forecast follows the news that Arcadia Group, which includes Topshop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans, is collapsing into administration. Elsewhere Coffee chain Caffè Nero is pursuing a restructuring agreement and menswear retailer Moss Bros has had to launch a restructuring of its business. In November, fashion chains Peacocks and Jaeger were placed into administration after owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group failed to find a buyer – and Sainsbury’s confirmed it will cut around 3,500 jobs from its Argos and Sainsbury’s stores. Beleaguered department store Debenhams, which has been in administration since April has already cut 6,500
Simon Lyle said, “The timing may seem brutal – making people redundant before Christmas – but it’s more compassionate than it appears. People will spend much less in the run up to the big day if they know this is coming, than if they are completely oblivious to what the future holds. Getting the news in mid-January, when you’re just picking up your credit card bills is actually worse. Also, post lockdown, people may be able to socialise with an eye to job hunting in the new year – that networking will be important. Finally, there’s a psychological advantage to starting the new year with the right outlook – not having your hopes and dreams for the year ahead shattered when you return to work.
You’ll also be in a better frame of mind to apply for work when more vacancies come on as they always do in January.”
SIMON LYLE’S 10 TIPS FOR HRDs MAKING REDUNDANCIES
1. CONSIDER REDEPLOYMENT: Redeployment schemes could save you money by lowering severance costs as well as recruitment and onboarding costs later. And redeployment schemes can help retain your competitive edge – you don’t want all those internal and external stakeholder relationships or that intellectual property knowledge walking out of the door. Redeployment can also minimise the pain of redundancy on your over stretched HR department – as well as employees who would otherwise be made redundant. Look at making redeployment opportunities as visible as possible, offer at risk candidates guidance on recognising their transferable skills and communicating their value with confidence at interview.
2. ASSEMBLE A TEAM & DRAFT A PLAN: A member of the HR department is often the best choice to lead a redundancy process. Depending on the size of your organisation, you may want to also include members of the exec team – it’s important to discuss the legal, ethical and organisational issues involved in deciding who will be made redundant.
3. BUILD THE CASE: With the help of your team, create a concise business case for the purpose of the redundancies. This information can be used in multiple communications, including notification meeting scripts and general announcements.
4. TRAINING: Consider providing notification and resiliency training for managers. The right training will prepare managers to communicate clearly with employees and reduce the risk of unwanted legal action.
5. POLISH YOUR PLAN: Finalise messaging to affected employees – and the survivors. Finalise your lists of impacted employees at least a week before the notification date – managers may want to attend training before the notification meetings take place. You should consider selecting a career transition package for the employees you are making redundant. Managers will need to familiarise themselves with the package, so they can communicate details to your employees during the notification meetings.
6. LOGISTICS: Ensure that the time, place and mode of interaction are well organised. For example, if you are communicating virtually, ensure all parties will have the correct technology to communicate easily – these are already difficult and stressful conversations and the last thing anyone needs is to only hear every second word.
7. MOVE FAST: Adhere to the required consultation timeline but deliver notifications to those affected within a short period of time. This will help alleviate the concerns of remaining employees.
8. ONE-ON-ONE: Managers should meet one-on-one for the notification meetings, with each affected individual. While these meetings will be difficult for both parties, employees will appreciate the opportunity to react and ask questions in private.
9. RESILIENCY TRAINING: Contemplate offering resiliency training for remaining employees. Our research has shown that organisations providing resiliency programmes for remaining employees are better able to maintain levels of employee engagement and return to productivity and profitability faster.
10. SOCIAL MEDIA: Continually monitor social media sites – especailly Twitter, and Glassdoor – for conversations concerning your organisation and workforce reduction. Your PR team should be ready to communicate how you are helping employees who you have had to make redundant. People need to know that you have taken care of your employees – that way you’ll also take care of your company’s future. That will maintain a positive image in the marketplace as well morale with remaining employees.
Simon Lyle said: “Conducting a layoff may be one of the most difficult responsibilities you face as an HR professional. Speaking to a group of loyal employees, or looking someone in the eye and saying, ‘we have to let you go,’ will take an emotional toll. Having to let go of employees who are like family can be extremely stressful, and the tasks surrounding a layoff can feel insurmountable. It’s natural to feel anxious and stressed amid the lingering uncertainty of a company’s future and having to announce redundancies to employees. You are definitely not alone.”
SIMON LYLE’S 5 TIPS TO EMPLOYEES BEING MADE REDUNDANT
1. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY: Being made redundant can be a difficult and emotional time. But it’s important to remember your employer isn’t making you redundant – they’re making your position redundant. Try not to take it personally. There’s no shame in being made redundant and I think this pandemic has been the thing that finally destigmatises redundancy for good.
2. CHECK YOUR PAY OFF: Ensure you are receiving the appropriate redundancy pay. The amount you receive will depend on your conditions of employment, so it’s best to talk with your employer once the redundancy happens and check the calculations. Getting that clarity will help you feel more in control and regain your balance as you face the next steps of your career.
3. BUDGET: Your redundancy pay will probably determine how long you can afford to be out of work. Create a budget and figure out if there are any areas you can cut back on until you get a new job. Consider where your money goes – estimate your upcoming bills and look at switching services such as mobile or broadband services to cheaper deals. These small changes may not seem like much but they will make a big difference to your finances in the long term. And writing expenses down and creating a proper budget can help you keep account of where your money is going, thus managing it.
4. MAINTAIN A POSITIVE MINDSET: A positive mindset will help you move on and increase your productivity, building your self-confidence. Demonstrating your ability to let go of any resentment can bring out your positive attitude- which prospective employers may be looking for when hiring. Look after your mental health and wellbeing and ensure structure in your day – filling your diary with calls and meetings focuses the mind and lets you feed off the energy of others in your network. Practice meditation, stay active, or take the time to do things you love that help to relax your mind. And, when you’re ready, talk to your loved ones about your situation – feeling heard and letting out your worries can help you move on.
5. REFLECT ON YOUR CAREER GOALS & FIGURE OUT YOUR NEXT STEP: Take the opportunity to reassess your skills, values, career goals and how you manage your work-life balance. This can determine whether you decide to start forging a new career path or retrain. Consider talking to a career coach about your goals and your progression; they can provide professional advice and help you identify gaps in your applications – improving the quality of your CVs. If you are considering approaching a new career, networking is the way to go. Expand your network on LinkedIn – when you do find opportunities through this route chances are you are on a shortlist, not competing against 500 other candidates. If you’re opening yourself up to a wide range of opportunities in the job market, be sure to factor in areas that may affect your well-being. For example, you might’ve found a well-paying role that aligns with your goals and passions – but will its commute become an additional stress in the long term?