Acas launches redundancy advice video

A video guide has been launched by Acas to help managers tasked with delivering news of redundancies to their employees.

Acas has coined the term “redundancy envoy” to describe those whose role involves communicating news of redundancies to other staff members within the organisation.

It points out that the process of delivering such news can take months and sets out to offer advice for managers in the form of the video “Breaking bad news at work – the role of the redundancy envoy”, which provides guidance on how to deal with the challenges of downsizing.

The video includes an interview with Dr Ian Ashman from the Institute for Research into Organisation, Work and Employment at the University of Central Lancashire’s Business School. Ashman studied the experiences of redundancy envoys, or “tellers” as they are also called, across the public and private sectors.

He said: “The Acas guidance helps employers recognise the role that line managers have in dealing with these sensitive situations. If we look after the managers, the managers will take better care of those on the receiving end of bad news. And if those who lose their jobs are treated with dignity and respect, then those who remain are more likely to feel engaged with the organisation going forward.”

View the video:

Acas advises employers take the following steps to assist “redundancy envoys”:

  • Provide the right training and mentoring to help tellers cope with the demands of letting people go.
  • Think carefully about who should break the news and involve them early on in the downsizing – it will make those having to break the bad news more understanding and better communicators.
  • The closer the relationship the teller has with those facing redundancy, the more difficult the process is for them, as they still have to work with those affected for some time to come.
  • Ideally, a teller should have previous experience and at the very least should be supported in how best to deal with the situation, including being given a thorough briefing on why redundancy or redeployment is necessary.

XpertHR also has further information on communicating and consulting on redundancies.

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