Ambient Tribe | Redundancy: the impact of good leadership communication.
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Redundancy: the impact of good leadership communication.

Redundancy: the impact of good leadership communication.

It’s been a tough news weekend this weekend. As we look forward to a second lock down, the ebbs and flows of this pandemic keep on coming. There are lots of tough decisions being made in businesses right now. As leaders navigate the future, it’s important to remember that not only do you have the decisions to make, but also, that the way you handle yourself in the execution of those decisions can make a huge difference, both to the lives of anyone who’s job may be at risk and to those who will be working in your business going forward. As the saying goes…”with great power, comes great responsibility”. So how do you use your power for good and make sure you’re communicating in the right way?

Coronavirus and redundancies

As leaders, we have a responsibility to consider the impact of redundancies on our people. We may not be able to change the outcome of the process, but by choosing our words and communication carefully, we can lessen the harsh impact and help our team members cope with bad news.

We’ve put together a brief guide on the best ways to deal with redundancies and communicating with those in our teams.

Think about how you want your people to feel – Before you even start planning your communication, think about how you’d like your people to feel once you’ve spoken to them about potential or actual redundancies. The desired result will help shape your communication approach right from the beginning.

Rehearse and prepare – Take the time, before making any announcements, to rehearse what you’re going to say. Think about the tone you’ll adopt. Plan out the words you’ll use. Winging it and hoping for the best in crisis situations such as making redundancies is never a sound plan for success.

Equally, the individual words you use such as ‘team’ over ‘staff’ and ‘us’ over ‘I’ or ‘me’ can help convey softer, more compassionate messages.

Finally for words, avoid clichés – use facts not excuses, but ensure you do so empathetically.

Don’t lock yourself away – as tempting as it might be to run away from delivering bad news, locking yourself away from questions, confrontation and communication is one of the worst things a leader can do.

Instead, make yourself available to talk to team members if they need to. Maintain an open dialogue should they need to ask questions, talk through options, or simply voice their grievances.

Keep your messages simple and clear – Whether communicating verbally or in writing, always keep your messages simple and clear. Your team doesn’t need all the details of every aspect of the process and neither will they expect you to have ALL the answers from the outset. However, they do need to know the rationale behind the decision to understand where you’re coming from. Keep it simple – telling them something is always better than telling them nothing. Explain the process, always remain transparent and honest.

Don’t make the process about you – Remember that the redundancy is affecting your team members’ lives directly. To the company it might be about financial necessity, but to your team it’s their whole livelihood at stake. Communicating redundancies might be a horrible thing to do, but it’s even worse to be on the receiving end – be mindful of that.

It’s crucial to listen to their feedback. This isn’t time for a monologue – listening to your team’s worries and concerns will allow you to show empathy and shape your communications moving forward.

Don’t treat everyone in the same way – It’s crucial to recognise that every individual on your team will deal with the news of a redundancy differently. If you don’t already, get to know your team and find out how each person is coping with the news. Tailor your support for them individually if possible.

It’s even possible that it’s good news for some of your team – find out how they’re feeling.

Take time to look after yourself too – hiring and firing can be emotionally draining at the best of times. Redundancies are a strain, so it pays to have a business friend or mentor on hand to listen to your problems in between dealing with your own team.

Your approach to redundancy says a lot about your business ethics and values. A new campaign launched by Han Law, employment law specialist is calling on the UK’s employers to sign up to the o the Fair Redundancy Pledge and be transparent on their redundancy programmes for 2020/21 and beyond.

The campaign aims to ensure employers declare the splits of their redundancy programmes by age, race, disability and gender to ensure that women, individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds, the disabled and people of certain ages are not disproportionately affected by Covid-related redundancy.

Employers looking to sign the pledge should do so here:

Fair Redundancy Pledge

If you or your business needs help with communicating to your team during difficult times, we’re hear to support you. Get in touch to see how Ambient Tribe can help.


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