We asked Recruitment Revolution to give their advice to those facing redundancy, and how to make the most of what is, all too often, an unpleasant experience.
Navigating a redundancy can be complicated, even if you deemed it inevitable explains online talent agency RecruitmentRevolution. With new financial pressures and professional instability, it’s difficult to know where to focus your energy. It’s important to remind yourself that this new change is beyond your control, and definitely not a reflection of you and your capabilities as a marketer. We’ve spoken to professionals who have recently dealt with a redundancy of their own, as well as professionals who are supporting redundancies and furlough across the country. We hope this compilation of advice will help you move forward.
Try and take some time to digest the news. It’s understandable to take redundancy personally. Despite efforts to be rational about this life-changing event, it will feel personally discriminatory at first. Naturally, a redundancy will have a huge impact on your routine, your confidence and your financial security. However, redundancies are usually a difficult decision for an employer to make, and are often based on real business needs.
Gary Wills, Founder of Furlearn, an non-for-profit-initiative which supports furloughed and job seeking talent advises, “first try not to beat yourself up. Remember, that your role has been made redundant and not you yourself.” Gary was furloughed himself during the pandemic. Anticipating the uncertain time ahead, he co-founded this online support group to support, motivate and inspire the community. To date they have hosted 14 live webinars which discuss topics from mental wellbeing, growth mindsets, sleep and meditation, healthy eating, as well as motivation and inspiration.
Don't burn bridges
As unnatural as it may feel, try your best to keep emotions out of your redundancy meetings. If you’re asked to clear your desk after your final meeting, try and do so quickly and professionally. You never know if you will have to work with your ex-colleagues again in a different setting.Sometimes, you may need to go through the redundancy process with someone you have worked with closely in the past, and this can be tricky. Try and remind yourself that this is not about your abilities and it’s not their fault that this is happening. Look at it as purely business, and focus your energy on getting back on your feet.
Sonia Whiteley-Guest knows first-hand how important it is to maintain your professionalism. A former strategy consultant at Kelloggs, she advises that “once you’ve announced your exit, ensure you still behave with dignity and grace, and be sensitive around your teams, who are grappling with the idea of change and also trying to align to new direction and leadership. They don’t want you to believe that you are disposable, but quite rightly, they are also ensuring that they have clarity and security in their role. When you might be internally feeling dejected, it’s important to not reflect that to those you are leaving behind.” Sonia has gone on to become a self-employed Brand and Growth Consultant, and has founded her own ecommerce business, All About the Doll. After her redundancy various Non Execs have actively recommended her to others, due to her positive impact in her role, right to the end.
Know your rights
When facing redundancy, your employer is required to treat you fairly, meaning they must act in accordance with legal and contract redundancy rights. For instance, you cannot be made redundant due to your age, gender, mental health status or disability. The mental health charity, Mind, has created a useful guide on the laws which are in place to protect you from being discriminated against at work here.
You should also be entitled to the following:
- a notice period
- a consultation with your employer
- the option to move into another job
- time off to find a new job
- redundancy pay
Mark Hassan-Ali, former Head of Talent at Wunderman Thompson advises: “just focus on getting the best terms possible as part of your package. Also, [if you can afford it] don’t scrimp on legal support, get someone decent to represent you (they can always go back to your employer to get more money for their fee if needed). A surprise for me was the number of restrictions that people can put into agreements when you leave under redundancy; a good lawyer will sort that out for you.” Mark went on to found Talent Acquisition and Development company Giant Talent. He made his voluntary-redundancy earlier this year into an opportunity to go out there and do his own thing.
Be honest with your family and partner
Of course, your redundancy will have an impact beyond the workplace, and is likely to affect the people around you. Although it may be difficult news to share, it’s important that you do share this experience with your partner, family and closest friends. Hiding such important news from your loved ones can considerably add to your stress levels.
If you live with your partner, they may need to help with the bills short-term while you look for another job, so giving the heads up in advance will help prepare them. If you keep them involved throughout your redundancy process, they will know what’s going on, and will be able to support you to the best of their abilities.
Manage your finances
Losing your job is likely to result in a change in financial situation. To minimise the long-term impact, planning ahead can really help. A good place to start is checking to see if you’re entitled to redundancy pay. It may be wise to put as much of this lump sum towards paying off any debts as soon as possible. Interest on these debts can rack up quickly, and this is the last thing you need hanging over your head when you are trying to find a new job. Next, have a look at all of your outgoing payments, and see where you can cut back. For instance, do you really need all of those streaming subscriptions?
Now that you’ve stripped back your spending, try and set a strict budget and stick to it while you look for your next job.
Take advantage of your network
Chances are you may know someone who has been made redundant at some point in their career too. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them. They have been there, they know how you feel, they will be able to provide advice.
Chances are, your network will also be able to help you find your next role. Although Linkedin can be intimidating at times, sharing this personal news could really help you get back on your feet. You may be surprised how friends and past colleagues will rally around to help you find an exciting new opportunity.
Don’t forget about your mental health
With so much to sort out when facing a redundancy, it’s easy to lose track of days and forget to look after yourself. Although this may not seem top of your list right now, deteriorating mental health will mean you’re not as confident or as focused as you could be, neither of which will help you find a new job. Anne-Laure Sala knows the importance of looking after your mental health after being made redundant during the pandemic. She works in the cruise industry, which has been considerably impacted by Covid-19.
“It's difficult enough in normal times but this has added a layer of complexity when your industry is one of the most badly hit. Stress level certainly went up during the past few months whilst you wonder where to go next. You have good and bad days and I had to learn to take a break from job hunting to recharge and take care of my mental health. I am lucky enough to have great support from my family and friends so it has helped no doubt.”
So although redundancy can initially seem like a negative change, if you handle it correctly, it can actually be a great opportunity for you to try something new or make a leap towards your dream job.
If you're ready for a new challenge, see what Recruitment Revolution can offer you here.