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Redundancy may be one the toughest situations faced by both individuals and organisations alike. In the case of an individual losing their job due to the position no longer being necessary in an organisation, both parties involved will face several challenges.
Individuals whose roles have been made redundant often take these events personally. It can be a genuinely traumatic experience. A common reaction to redundancy is to feel powerless and to feel as if you have a lack of control over your life. Losing your job this way can arrest career development and cause people to feel ashamed and embarrassed of their situation.
It’s important during these times to remember that it is not you who is redundant, but your role that has been made redundant. It’s also crucial to understand that the decision isn’t a reflection of your talents, skills or performance but rather a reflection of an organisational change in needs.
Although a situation that nobody wishes to be in, being made redundant is a crisis that can create unprecedented opportunity. Each person will react to and handle redundancy differently. While some may take the chance to create new opportunities and forge a new path, for others, the feelings of rejection and exclusion can take a major toll on confidence and drive.
In some cases of redundancy, you may not have to leave the company completely but rather change roles significantly from the one you started out doing. This too can cause feelings of inadequacy or dissatisfaction in the workplace.
In both cases, positive re-engagement in any workplace can often be a profound challenge. When faced with redundancy, you will need to accept the occurrence and separate it from your worth, rebuild your confidence and take a positive approach to making the most of the challenging circumstances.
An important first step in overcoming redundancy is to understand the situation and analyse your emotional response to what has happened. It is vital at this point to retain a sense of your own self-worth and to identify what resources you have available to you to move forward.
When organisations make certain roles redundant, the impact on the rest of the organisation, the ‘survivors’ if you will, can be devastating. Research has shown that after people in a company have witnessed redundancy happening around them, the overall performance and efficiency of the company plummets, ultimately leading to a drop in the organisation's productivity. In many cases, redundancy can severely undermine a business's human capital.
Beyond the written contract of employment between employees and employers, there is a psychological contract that exists. Although unspoken, this influential agreement between the two parties is what brings trust and a feeling of security to the relationship. If your employer has made certain roles redundant, it’s likely that the psychological contract between remaining employees and the business has been damaged. The ‘survivors’ may have lost trust in the business and may worry that the same could happen to them.
This can cause employees to withdraw from engagement, create a decrease in continuity and lower productivity levels.
It’s important for organisations to properly handle the redundancy process with human resource best practices to try and minimise the damage caused by redundancy.
You can read more about the impact of redundancy for companies in our redundancy guide.
The key factor in handling redundancy is to put the event in perspective and distinguish the issues of the organisation from your own situation. This is a time to be self-aware and reflective. Look at your strengths and, in turn, evaluate your career direction in order to better inform your choices moving forward. Be mindful of initial responses such as bitterness, grievance and inadequacy. They are normal feelings but don’t let them get the better of you as they will hold you back and stifle the opportunities that may be available.
Redundancy is a life event for which it may be worth seeking independent help. If your role has been made redundant and you’re not sure where to turn, our Redundancy & Beyond service is for people in your situation. Whether you have lost your job entirely or you are still at the organisation in a significantly different role, our experienced career consultants can help you work through the negative impacts of change in your work circumstances to help you transform temporary self-limitations into opportunities for growth.
Our consultants can assist you through this process, using a methodology that has been developed through over 35 years of consulting. This unique methodology in our approach moves through the four stages of exploration, connection, resolution, and action.
If you’re struggling with the challenges that come with redundancy, get in touch for a free consultation with us. We’d be happy to discuss your current situation and how it can be turned into a new opportunity.
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