Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How to make someone redundant or let them go

The climate at present in the UK is one of impending redundancy across all sectors. Whilst this may be a good or bad thing, here is our tip sheet on how to make a redundancy or let a member of staff go.

For most people it is a very stressful time, and it can results in sleepless nights worrying about the effect of the redundancy on the individual and also the way to couch it effectively.

Often it can involve making someone redundant who you really like and value as a colleague and employee, and do not want to see them leave the business. However, the economic climate is such that harsh decisions have to be made in order to ensure the survival of the company and to trim costs.

1. Be transparent. You have to be clear with your reasons for the redundancy and stick with them. The reasons have to be genuine ones as opposed to made up ones or reasons to make it sound better.

2. Plan what you are going to say – it is important to have an idea in your head of what to say to ensure that what comes out is what you really mean and want to convey to the employee. It can also help to have someone else present with you when you are undertaking this task. This can help both from a legal perspective and also to chip in if you forget to say anything.

3. Choose the correct time for doing this. If you choose an inappropriate time, the response from the employee could be very different and for all the wrong reasons.

4. Explain the reasons in full. Do not beat about the bush, and explain in concise terms why the redundancy is essential for the company. Smaller businesses may even find it helpful to tell the employee what the balance sheet is and what the effect of their redundancy will be or the effect if they do not make the redundancy.

5. Discuss with the employee how to make the announcement to other workers. In a smaller company, this probably is not necessary as most of the staff in the business will be fully aware why the redundancy is being made, but in a larger business with teams, it may be essential to explain to the other members of the team, why the action is taking place.

6. Sacking – if this is a sacking or dismissal rather than a redundancy, be aware of the legal procedures that you have to take, and check any employee manuals to ensure that you are complying with the procedures that are set out in there.

7. Above all else, retain your dignity and also be aware of the employee’s feelings. That person may have been with your company for quite some time, or similarly may place a lot of value on their position with your company that you do not necessarily reciprocate. Be sure that you treat the other person with respect and the way that you would expect to be treated in a similar circumstance. Do not use wishy-washy terms such as “I wish I could keep you on, I really like you,” etcetera, because in the employee’s mind, if you really liked them, you would not be making them redundant.

Good luck!

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment. He regularly writes and provides articles for employers, lawyers and is also a business consultant. You can contact Jonathan at or you can telephone 0207 127 4343.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good advice especially the economy is having a downpour. It is not easy to tell this to your employee. However, it is important to keep a person's dignity while letting them go.