Being made Redundant HURTS!
I don’t have statistics to confirm how many redundancies have been made in New Zealand since I started working in Recruitment in 2007, but it seems a phenomenally high percentage. There are of course valid reasons for making employees redundant, which up until a few years back seemed largely associated with big businesses and multi national companies e.g. closing down, merging or selling the business or making changes to enable the business to operate more efficiently and cost effectively. However it seems there’s no longer quite the same stigma attached to redundancies as there once was for small and medium sized enterprises. In the past an SME business may be tarred with a reputation of either ‘going down’ or being taken over if they laid staff off, whereas since the ‘financial crisis’ it appears to have become quite the acceptable thing to restructure rather than to keep paying wages when business isn’t going so well.
You could say ‘only rotten apples fall from the tree’ (or some such quote), which I’ve heard many times, insinuating that those who have been made redundant were poor performers, let go at the first opportunity. Yes, sometimes this is true although any business admitting that may be opening themselves up for a PG or lawsuit. However, I’ve also seen many shiny, healthy apples that weren’t ready to drop and got quite a shake up in the process, as they didn’t see it coming. And you just never know when it might be you.
What’s worse are the misfortunate people, often through no fault of their own, that take their next tentative step into the work sector only to come-a-cropper yet again. Their new employers are going through a merger; buy out or restructuring and once again they’re out on their ear, last-in first-out type scenario. Seriously I have come across job seekers whose CV’s are like a piece of holey cheese. Of course as an HR Recruitment professional it’s my job to dig deeper, probe the missing dates and unexplained gaps, ask the gnarly questions about why it looks like they can’t seem to hold down a job for more than a year and then follow up by asking the same questions of their referees, keeping eyes open for discrepancies or worrying trends, but at the same time wanting to find the positives to help that candidate gain employment again.
What is there to help employees facing redundancy, especially now that many employment contracts have no redundancy compensation included? Under the current NZ employment law, if your employment agreement says nothing about redundancy compensation then you are generally not entitled to any.
It can be pretty soul destroying for many people to go through a redundancy crisis - in fact it’s right up there with getting divorced or even losing a loved one. People not only lose their livelihoods but can lose their phones, cars, computers and even their homes when they can’t keep up their mortgage repayments. Not to mention their pride, social status and work relationships.
And that is why socially responsible employers often offer ‘grief’ counselling sessions to help their employers ‘move on’. Going through it myself, I took advantage of this service and had a lovely cup of tea and a warm chat with a very nice lady, shed a few angry and sorrowful tears, talked about how bad it had made me feel and went away none the wiser on what I was going to do next.
In hindsight I realised that what I actually needed was some careers advice, someone to make me accountable for my next actions (and stop me from crawling away into a dark abyss of self pity), to arm me with positive job seeking steps and make me feel I was being supported in reaching out into the unknown.
So we started up ‘Job Steps’ as a way for Employers to help their Employees transition into the job market. ‘Job Steps’ offer the benefits of some warm counselling mixed in with a no nonsense, seize the day, get into gear and get out there type session. We know how it hurts and have the empathy and listening skills, we know how to interview and ask the questions that get people thinking along the pathways of where to from here, and we know what potential employers are going to want to see in a job application. Our clients walk away with something tangible in the way of a well written, professional ‘no holes’ Curriculum Vitae and armed with tips and links to start on their job-hunt.
There are also ongoing options available for more One2One support sessions, which include creating job specific cover letters, targeted job applications and coaching on some winning interview techniques.
Often people who’ve been made redundant lose all confidence in their own abilities and need help regaining that self-belief. We do this by identifying their skills and strengths and suggesting positive areas for development. Whether they choose to go on and do further training, or look for new employment, we aim to get them past the first few stages of ‘job loss grieving’ so they are ready to step out there again.
If you know of any businesses having to let people go or employees being made redundant that could benefit from ‘Job Steps’ please tell them to get in touch. We also outsource to companies doing Exit Interviews, Performance Reviews, Reference Checking and all stages of Job Vacancy Advertising and Recruitment on an hourly basis or fixed rate.