Resilience in Redundancy

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We were joined by Suzie McInerney, CEO of Six Degrees Executive, back in 2020 for a virtual event to discuss the important topic of remaining resilient when being faced with a redundancy.

Unfortunately, many of us will experience a redundancy at some stage in our careers and it’s important to remember that it’s not personal. Being made redundant is an experience shared by many marketing professionals, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. With many people being faced with a redundancy recently, we thought it would be useful to highlight the steps to handle this situation.

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. This business choice has nothing to do with you or your skill set.

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?
  • Are you entitled to an ex gratia payment – this can sometimes be negotiable.

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. It may be hard to see right now, however a redundancy can actually be extremely positive and leave you with a nice pay boost and new opportunities.

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.

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. Redundancy is now unfortunately commonplace and is much more readily understood. There is absolutely no reason to fear judgement and many people have been in the same situation.

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.

Key Tips

  • 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. Make sure it has measurable key achievements.
  • Don’t overapply for roles you will not ultimately be happy in due to fear. Over applying will drain your resources and exhaust you. Be strategic with your applications.
  • There is some controversy regarding covering letters.  Most recruiters don’t require them and will focus more on LinkedIn 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.

Remember, you’ve got this! There is only one you and this experience will make you stronger in the long-run.

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