Top tips for handling redundancy
25 January 2024
Redundancy is something nobody likes to think about – until it arrives out of the blue. The sudden nature of redundancy is an event out of our control, explains automotive personal performance coach Tim Hargreaves, but it is our response to it that dictates the outcome, not the event itself.
“I like to give people a simple equation to remember: E+R=O. This underlines the importance of responses – and the need not to dwell on the event in order to deliver a better outcome.”
Redundancy, he explains, is often scary, but can also be exciting, depending on your frame of mind. To help those suddenly facing the prospect of redundancy, Tim has outlined his tips to help you gain control of the situation and use the opportunity to move towards bigger and better things.
1. Be clear on legal rights
Tim says it’s important the basics are established early on – how much redundancy pay someone will receive, how long the notice period is and if they’re able to leave sooner to start a new position.
“The official government website has full information on redundancy, including a simple tool to calculate statutory redundancy pay based on age and length of service – anyone who’s been with an employer for at least two years is entitled to statutory redundancy pay. External sources such as ACAS are also useful sources of information.”
2. Brush up on managing money
Anyone facing redundancy should, once they know how much they’re entitled to and when they’ll be paid, start working out a budget.
“It’s also worth checking for benefits and grants. The main benefits people may qualify for are Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA), Universal Credit or an Employment and Support Allowance. Some people are also eligible for other benefits such as tax credits and help with housing costs.”
Help is on hand for those who may be struggling with money. “The financial insecurity charity Turn2Us offers plenty of information on the benefits available, as well as an easy-to-use calculator to help figure out what people may be entitled to if they are worried about credit card debt, loan payments or bills. Citizens Advice is another great place to turn.” Tim says credit card, loan and mortgage providers can often be more willing to help than many expect – and it’s worth checking for any existing insurance policies that may be in place.
3. Remember that it’s not personal
“A big part of the redundancy process can be understanding what is happening and why. It helps to acknowledge that none of it is personal – there are logical and commercially-driven decisions behind why it’s happening.
“Those facing redundancy are not alone, either. According to statistics, around 100,000 people are made redundant each year – that’s around 3 in every 1,000 employees.”
4. Use it as a chance to take stock
Tim hesitates to say redundancy is a good thing, “but it can be an opportunity to help people take stock of their skills, talent and experience. Is there anything that they may want to change in their career? Have their goals changed and they want to start on a new journey?
“Changing a job or career can be a chance to redress a work-life balance, particularly if the old role was exhausting, stressful or set someone on the path to burnout.” Personal development coaches can help people take stock – and often there are service that help make such people available for free.
5. Refresh CV and networking skills
If someone has been in their role for a long time, their CV may well not be up to date. Tim advises people consider all the skills, tasks and achievements from their last role – “but it’s not just about stuffing keywords into your CV in the hope that it’s picked up by algorithms: a CV should give space to showcase accomplishments, experience and personality, and is a great way to show how well-rounded someone is.”
Networking skills are another key skill, which these days should include online and social media. Tim encourages people to be proactive on groups, and be actively engaged on LinkedIn. “You can even change your LinkedIn profile to show people you are #Opentowork.
“I call it ‘putting your light on’, like a black cab. Making it known that someone is looking for work can open up opportunities that people previously may not have considered someone for, simply because they thought they already had a job. The more people can start raising their profile, the more they will be noticed by the right people.”
6. Managing mental health
It is crucial that people manage mental health during redundancy. It can be tempting for people to spend every waking hour searching for new jobs, but such strain won’t help. By neglecting well-being, people can become disheartened, and even start making simple mistakes like sending the wrong covering letter to the wrong company, damaging prospects in the process.
Tim always reminds people of the simple things, such as eating regularly, cutting caffeine and alcohol, avoiding junk food and exercising regularly. He encourages people to try and see redundancy as the gift of time. “Use it wisely and productively, by picking up on long-forgotten DIY projects, taking the kids to school, meeting old friends for coffee during old office hours.
“For many, it’s a short-lived opportunity, so I urge them to take it while they can. Their next job will probably come along any day, so they should enjoy the moments they’re in.”