5 Steps to Dealing with Redundancy

Any form of job loss, particularly in the current job market, is challenging. Whether a highly educated senior executive or a trainee, being advised that you no longer have ongoing employment will shock you.

It can be stated that many individuals will go through some form of a grief period following redundancy; some of these individuals will be more resilient than others. With how challenging redundancy can be, understanding what redundancy is and how to support yourself through this time is extremely important.

1. Understand what redundancy is

The most important fact is to remember is that a bona fide redundancy is in no way a reflection of an individual’s capabilities or work skills. Redundancy is simply the result of a business assessing the ongoing organizational structure in line with future direction and strategy.

A redundancy is an identification that a position and the tasks associated with that position are no longer required in the business. It is extremely important to be aware that a position is being made redundant; not an employee. A redundancy program is the result of an organization downsizing, rightsizing, or changing its direction which may also include outsourcing various business functions.

2. Be aware of the possible stages of grief

It is important to understand to a degree the possible stages of grief that you may go through following notification of a redundancy. One such model is the ‘Dancing with Sarah’ model of grief and transition. This is a very effective model to help individuals step through their feelings and emotions following events such as a redundancy. The ‘Dancing with Sarah’ stages include:

  • Shock
  • Anger
  • Resistance
  • Acceptance
  • Help

Traditionally, an individual will work through these stages at varying pace and will move backward and forwards between stages before reaching ‘Acceptance’ and ‘Help’. A lot of individuals will remain in the ‘Anger’ and ‘Resistance’ stages longer than others and may transition with more difficulty before moving into the acceptance stage.

When an individual is able to identify and categorize the emotions that they are feeling more effectively, they generally are able to seek possible alternative employment opportunities.

3. Seek support

Some lucky individuals will be provided a tailored outplacement support program to suit their requirements. For others, they may not be provided any support, or the support they are provided does not suit their requirements. It has been identified that individuals who have support throughout the period of redundancy, as well as support in job search and marketing for a job, have a greater success rate in securing a new opportunity sooner. Accredited career consultants that specialize in tailored outplacement and transition programs are the best to provide personal support during this time.

4. Don’t wait

Although for many a redundancy will include a financial component including severance pay, it is recommended to not wait until this benefit has been used to start looking for work. The recruitment period on average for an organization is 12 weeks and for many, this reflects the amount of total time from application to a role, interview stages, to successful job placement. What this time does not include is a period where applications may not be successful. The current higher unemployment rates identify that there are many individuals seeking employment, and this does not include those who are employed that are seeking alternative employment. If you immediately start looking for a new opportunity you will improve your chances of an earlier placement and reduce the risk of being financially impacted by the redundancy.

5. Remain positive

As difficult and as daunting as redundancy is for everybody, remaining positive is absolutely necessary. Without a positive attitude, individuals are unable to seek future work opportunities effectively. This can be reflected by individuals getting a “victim mentality” or a “Why Me” attitude rather than a “what’s next” attitude. You can remain positive through: Some key statement to support you in your positive thinking includes:

  • Remembering that a position was made redundant not an individual.
  • Becoming extremely active in your job search; including through the proactive and reactive job market.
  • Look to developing your skills. This can be through formal training or simply by researching your industry or your target role online, through the media, and at your local library.
  • Continuing to operate as if you were employed. Wake at the same time and structure your day through having to-do lists and scheduling tasks you need to undertake.

Understanding redundancy and the stages and emotions that you may go through improves your resilience following redundancy. Looking at the redundancy of a role as a benefit to open your eyes to new opportunities, rather than a job loss, will ensure that you get the most out of your own individual situation. Many individuals use this time as an opportunity to look for their ideal career and how to transition across utilizing their existing skills or pursuing further training opportunities.

When remaining positive and looking at all options as a result of the redundancy you will get the greatest and most suitable result for yourself and your career.

By Rebecca Fraser

Rebecca Fraser is a Leader of learning and development for organisations and individuals. She is highly recognised for her contribution to the industry and for her work in the media providing information on modern day job search strategies. She is the author of ‘How to get a job in the 21st century’, her newest release on job search and resumes.