Suzie McInerney, the CEO of Six Degrees Executive recently joined Marketing Women Inc. for a webinar to discuss this important topic.
Here are some of the key insights from the event.
Steps in Handling a Redundancy
Take a breath and get space for a day or two to process the decision
Before you sit back down with your employer and work through the details, regain your composure and take a breath.
Take care of current business.
A) Understand the reasons why the role has been made redundant
These reasons will be important for your future steps and help you articulate to yourself and others what has happened. Ask questions to understand the business decision which has been made. Remember it is the role that has been made redundant not you.
B) Understand the specific details of the redundancy and any housekeeping required.
Some organisations are very proactive and will have HR teams to support you. In other cases, you may need to seek out the details.
Don’t rely on remembering what to ask. Make a checklist and take notes.
Some key questions to cover:
- Your end date
- Your notice period – and whether you are required to work during this period
- The payout details
- Will you be able to say goodbye to colleagues and suppliers?
- Will they give you a reference?
- Will you have access to an employee assistance program and / or formal outplacement support
Take care of yourself
A) Manage the emotions associated with your redundancy
Take some time now to look after yourself emotionally.
Even if intellectually you can understand the reasons, it is hard not to take a redundancy personally, . People often move through the steps of S A R A. (Shock Anger Rejection and Acceptance). Be ready for the roller coaster and reach out for help.
B) Start to develop a positive mindset and get yourself ‘match fit’
ie. ready to talk to organisations and recruiters and make a positive first impression.
Six Degrees Executive see candidates who are clearly not ready to talk to them – they are jaded / angry about what has happened, lacking in confidence and not able to put the ‘best version’ of themselves forward.
Develop your narrative
A) The story (rationale) of why you were made redundant
You need to build clarity and confidence in articulating this story as you will find yourself needing to explain to friends, family, your network and recruiters over the weeks / months after the redundancy occurs. Be transparent and concise.
B) What you’re hoping for next in terms of a role
It needs to be genuine and motivating for you.
Reach out and make contact with recruiters and employers
Now you’re ready to begin to make a positive first impression.
Busting myths about redundancy
1. Redundancy is no longer a dirty word.
It is no longer true that only poor performers are made redundant. Don’t shy away from it. Recruiters and employers are used to it. The notion of continuous, lineal, permanent employment without this type of disruption is waning, especially in marketing. Lots of great talent is displaced and sometimes more than once.
It is important that you can articulate the business reason – so recruiters can understand what happened
2. It is not true that you can never avoid a redundancy
They are hard to avoid. But there are things you can do to keep upskillng and make yourself more versatile that can help you be redeployed or viewed as an adaptable resource.
The Importance of Career Planning
This should be an ‘always on’ activity.
1. Think about yourself as a brand
You can no longer ignore career planning even when you’re happy in your current role / not looking. Keep upskilling and keep talking to people.
2. Update your CV and key achievements every three to six months
You never want to be in a position where you have to write a CV from scratch
Think about your achievements as a work-in-progress. Keep tweaking them and keep adding strong measurable achievements.
3. Learn how to use Linked In and be active
Share content. Join Groups. Keep your profile up-to-date
4. Network – All the time.
We talk about the 100 coffees a year rule! Build bridges before you need them!
Develop your own board of directors
One idea which may be useful is to treat yourself as a business and develop your own group of advisors. These are the people who you turn to when you need advice and need to make decisions.
You want diversity in your board – a Cheerleader, who supports and encourages you always; a Blackhat / Agitator, who sees the risks and downsides and the Scientist / Engineer, who wants to understand the process/how it will happen.
Learnings from Six Degrees’ Recent Experiences
It is also challenging for the person making staff redundant. Remember that you don’t know what else is going on for the employee. Check in, even if they seem okay and provide support. Candidates and clients will remember how you made them feel during the process.
Tips from the Q&A session
- Choose one or two recruiters to work with, based on the individuals and your sense that you can trust them and that they are genuine. Do they call you back? Do they take the time to give you advice?
- If you don’t know any recruiters, ask friends who have been through the process for referrals. Look for reviews on Glassdoor and Google Reviews. Look at Seek and which companies are advertising the right jobs for you.
- Your CV should be short and sharp, especially the first page. See this template from Six Degrees as an example. Make sure it has measurable key achievements.
- There is some controversy regarding covering letters. Most recruiters (including Six Degrees) don’t require them and will focus more on Linked In and your CV. However, they may be required for direct roles with organisations.
- If you are offered an outplacement by the company making you redundant, make it work for you. They can be very useful, but like recruitment there are lots of people offering this service and it is of variable quality. If you have a choice, look at the credentials of the individual, how responsive are they, how dynamic, do they offer advice and support.
The Six Degrees Executive website has lots of useful articles and resources on this topic. To access them, click here.