It could be you . . .

I was made redundant recently – was it a shock? Yes, it was, but what I didn’t realise is that there’s a “club” out there. Many people have gone through the same situation and most have gone on to bigger and better things, but it is only through experiencing it first hand – and admitting it to others – that members of the club start to come out of the woodwork.So, if redundancy is looming for you (for ease I shall call you the “redundancee”), or you have the unenviable task of having to make people redundant (the “redundancer”), I’d like to share what I’ve learnt, having experienced both situations. Don’t take redundancy personally – it is likely to happen to the best of us these days, and at any level, so assume it will. One person told me it had happened to him twice in 10 years and he expected it to happen again in the next three to five years. Oddly reassuring, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Familiarise yourself with the change curve. It is cited in many manuals as the emotional journey you will go through, and I have – not quite in the same order, but not far off. It is useful to know what to expect and I would heartily recommend it, particularly for the redundancer. Watch George Clooney’s film Up in the Air and you’ll see what I mean. Networking is crucial, both when in a job and when looking for one. I have had a fantastic response from a variety of sources in my network (both other procurement professionals and suppliers) and been offered varying levels of help and/or contacts. I have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity and it’s all down to my strong network. If you are offered outplacement services, use them. I have and I admit it wasn’t easy. Entering their office is admitting the situation is real, and there were way more people in there than I expected – a sad indictment of today’s economic situation. While it’s still early days for me, the views from the “club” members are that this was an invaluable service and one to make the most of. So, redundancees, make sure you negotiate it into your package (for an unlimited period ideally, but otherwise for at least three to six months); and redundancers, consider it an integral part of your severance budget if it isn’t there already. Redundancers should make the process as smooth as possible. If you offer services such as outplacement make sure the service level agreement with that supplier for leaver notification is as short as possible. Also think about the best and most tax efficient way to pay your redundancee. Consider what they are going through and remember these are individuals you are dealing with. If you get it right, what a positive difference it will make to the redudancee. Get it wrong and you’ve lost potential ambassadors for your company.  And also, don’t forget, next time this could happen to you... Beth Wallace was group sourcing and SRM director at insurance group RSA

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