The landscape of the humanitarian sector is changing.  Restructuring in organisations is inevitable. In the midst of this, you have the task of making your team members redundant, people you have known for years, others who have only recently joined the organisation.

You have very tight deadlines on ensuring the lean structure is implemented.  You are inundated with meetings to plan the new organisational direction, and at the same time, you must ensure that you are following the laid out policy on redundancy!  Where do you start?

 

FINISHING WELL

1. Breaking the news

It is important to recognise that when someone is made redundant, they experience loss of several things – job security, family status as a provider, self-confidence, being part of a community at work, etc.  Whenever we experience loss, we grieve. Grieving is a process with many conflicting emotions.

Oftentimes, the tendency is to circulate an email with all the facts about the redundancy, and then call a staff meeting to share more information and answer questions.  Having the news broken in face to face conversations with line managers, will soften the impact of shock.

 

2. Supporting staff as they receive the news

News of redundancy is received differently, depending on an individual’s level of resilience.  However, notwithstanding one’s level of resilience, those leaving and those remaining will experience conflicting emotions of loss and grief.  

It is therefore prudent to provide psychosocial support to address these conflicting emotions, and help the staff normalise how they are feeling and begin to come to terms with the news, so they can move on and plan next steps in a healthy manner.

 

3. Supporting staff transitioning out

Staff leaving the organisation can be a great asset as ambassadors of the organisation.  How they transition out of the organisation therefore becomes something worth thinking through carefully.  This process tends to intuitively reflect the prevailing organisational culture.

Once the initial shock of the news is over.  It is important to support staff as they transition out of what has been the norm, so that they finish well.  Due to the short transition timeframes, it is important that handing over of work to remaining counterparts is thought through and facilitated with face-to-face, one on one interactions with the line manager.

Where possible, engage the services of a professional to equip staff with skills in career planning, writing of their curriculum vitae, financial planning and management, so that they feel supported by the organisation as they look to their next steps.  

 

STARTING WELL

4. Supporting staff transitioning into new structure

As staff transition out, the remaining staff need an assurance that they will be supported in their changing role in the new structure.  This may look like clear conversations around the new structure, roles, responsibilities, and communication lines.

It is useful to provide coaching support for those taking on leadership roles that they have previously not held.  During this time, some of the remaining staff may experience mixed emotions around their job security and may benefit from one on one counselling with a professional.

 

5. Rebuilding the team

The new normal involves reconstituting the team, as some leave and some stay on.

It is therefore important for the new team to unite together around the vision and values of the organisation.  This is a reminder of ‘who we are’ and ‘what we stand for’ as an organisation.  

This is a great opportunity to have the teams review what each team brings to the organisation, and in so doing, reinforce the sense of value in each individual and team contribution.


If you would like to explore how Thrive Worldwide can support you and your organisation going through redundancy please email us at info@thrive-worldwide.org.