GTP22: Support in a time of redundancy

Work Horizons

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2022 Growth Through People campaign.

Growth Through People is the Chamber’s annual campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management skills. In 2022 this involves 8 free webinars and events sharing best practice advice and guidance taking place throughout March, and a Growth Through People conference on 30th March. In addition, throughout the campaign the Chambers will be publishing thought leadership podcasts and blog content such as this.

Thanks to our Headline Partners and Sponsors – Aston University, Birmingham City Council, South and City College Birmingham and the West Midlands Combined Authority - all Growth Through People workshops are free to attend. Interested readers can find out more and register to attend Growth Through People workshops here, and the Growth Through People conference here.


At a time when there are thousands of vacancies, when there are signs of economic recovery and some organisations are blooming, why are there still redundancies and why are people who are losing their job in need of help? Surely, finding the next role is straightforward? However, as we all know, the variables, and therefore the difficulties, emerge from skills matches, location anomalies, wage aspirations, sectors failing, and personal factors like age and mobility.

Seeking Help

With few exceptions, people made redundant are not psychologically prepared. Even if they are ‘expecting it’, the impact may be profound, yet many don’t ask for help, possibly because they aren’t aware it is available or don’t know where to look.

There are some other factors too:

  • They think it will be expensive and their ex-employer didn’t fund any outplacement
  • Their ego doesn’t allow them to ask, it may require vulnerability they cannot display
  • They resent accepting any help from the people who have inflicted this pain upon them

Notwithstanding, there is a need for the employer to provide outplacement and to take away the reasons for not accepting the help.

The Help

Outplacement, a word constructed in the quest for euphemisms to make redundancy seem less harsh, is the process to prepare people for their job hunt. Typically this has been a service made available to more senior staff as part of their ‘release’. It has been expensive and exclusive.

It has been focused on the practical factors, which can range from personal dress style to interview preparation, and include creating a CV, finding vacancies and networking.

The emphases are changing. More thought is being given to finding an outcome which will bring employment providing real satisfaction as well as income, making support available to all levels of the organisation, and focusing on the early stages of the new venture; it is a joined-up approach to both help the individual, and the organisation meet its professional and compassionate standards.

The Effectiveness

The affected person may be in a very poor psychological place, to the extent there is a requirement for access to specific professional help. At the very least this is a bad time, one of uncertainty and worry, including for the family. This a wellbeing issue both for mental and physical health.

There are many claims regarding its effectiveness, but it is certain that for people who look for another job it speeds up the process considerably. Of course, ultimately some people choose to retire or start their own business or go back into education, and these cannot be easily monitored.

Value to the Business

It is the right thing to do for the individual, it may help the consultation process, and it will enhance the organisations reputation, both externally and internally.

A final thought, Harvard Business Review stated that in the year after a re-structuring, 30% of the retained staff leave. Nearly a third of the key people walk. The Survivor Syndrome is a real thing, guilt and fear are significant negative motivators. Be seen to be a good employer.

Rob Ball
Work Horizons