On most occasions, the threat of redundancy or redeployment will fill those affected with a sense of doom; and quite understandably so. The prospect of no job or an unfamiliar alternative can be extremely daunting.
However, this potentially life-changing event can offer a number of opportunities which otherwise may have simply passed you by, and it’s up to you – possibly with help and guidance from others – to make the most of them.
Being faced with a compulsory* redundancy notice can have a real downer on your day – particularly if it’s totally unexpected. Despite the generally-held understanding that it’s the job that’s no longer required, not you, and you just happen to be the unfortunate holder of that position, ‘Redundancy!’ still carries with it a stigma that’s both unfair and unfounded. However, people still find difficulty in saying, “My post was made redundant..”
(*Voluntary, as opposed to compulsory, redundancy (VR) involves a totally different set of circumstances.)
They also say that when one door closes, another one opens; it’s just that it may not be immediately apparent, a) where that door might be and b) where it will lead to. This, however, should be taken as an opportunity and if you do have time to plan, so much the better. Of course, redundancy can also come with cash benefits – the minimum length of service being two years - but the longer you’ve been with that employer, the greater they will be. A combination of
statutory (government enforced) and other employer-led redundancy pay can be quite attractive and is tax-free up to £30k. Yes, this could provide you with a tidy sum – but beware! The possible attraction of enforced unemployment coupled with your heady feeling of solvency can be very alluring, but also very short-lived; time (and cash) flies by much more quickly than you think, and this is not a time to be complacent! This, on the other hand, would be a time for those plans...
Your employer might offer you help with this by providing a professional coach to work with you, either one-to-one or in group sessions, so-called ‘outplacement’, and this can be extremely helpful in identifying possible options. They will work to assess your skills and interests and provide much needed support at a time when your confidence is probably low. Even if this help is not offered by the employer, it could be well worth your while to engage a professional career coach yourself. Not expensive, and you might be able to use a little of that redundancy cash to great effect. It could be a time to re-assess your career completely, and professionals can help you by shining a light on new opportunities that, possibly, you hadn’t even considered.
Whilst suggesting the option of redundancy, your employer is legally bound to offer you “suitable alternative employment” (i.e. “matching an employee's skills, aptitudes and experience”), or ‘redeployment’. Having been presented with full details of this role, including remuneration, you may want to reject the offer and claim your redundancy pay. However, you must give a valid reason for refusing, be it that it would mean a material change in your planned career direction, lower pay, less favourable working conditions, or whatever.
But, again, this new role may offer you the perfect opportunity to enhance your CV by giving you more experience in this sector, whilst broadening your skill base. The offer of redundancy money can be tempting, but you must consider fully the best option for you.
Very often, the best one is right in front of you.
Despite the threat of redundancy hanging over you like the Sword of Damocles, we can see that it can often bring more opportunities than threats. Generally speaking, legally binding and government-sponsored statutory rights will reduce the financial impact - often quite substantially – but this is not the time to rest on your laurels and assume “everything will be alright..” It’s time to plan.
Professional career guidance can offer much-needed advice at this point and it’s best to seek it out if not already offered by your erstwhile employer as part of the redundancy package.
Finally, if redeployment within the organisation is offered, consider carefully just how this might impact positively on your CV – and your career.
- Redundancy payments – know the score
- Time to move on can be limited; don’t dilly-dally
- Use professional advice and guidance
- Redeployment is an opportunity to grow