I have recently been informed that our company will be making a number of redundancies, and the HR department itself could be under threat. I am in a difficult position where I need to keep up morale, but I am also considering looking for work elsewhere. What is the best way to keep my options open?
It is not an easy time for any employee when part of the workforce is under threat of redundancy – especially for HR, which is nearly always caught in the middle.
As an HR professional, you will be aware of the importance of effective communication during times of change, to ensure morale doesn’t hit rock bottom. Let staff know as much as possible about events that affect them directly, and provide accurate timeframes.
Working within HR, you are likely to have access to this information before other staff. So ensure your organisation is treating its staff in the manner in which you as an individual expect to be treated. Make sure the consultation process is truly consultative; ask for feedback on whether the business is communicating effectively and, if not, what expectations have yet to be met. Produce a document ensuring that any relevant frequently asked questions, together with answers, are made available to everyone.
The threat of redundancy will always provoke anxiety. As an HR professional, your colleagues should perceive you as an expert source of information. Your role is to facilitate this difficult process, and because they have a good relationship with you and trust you, you are likely to play a critical role in reducing their anxiety. Although your position may also be at risk, it is also worth bearing in mind that during periods of corporate reorganisation, the goalposts may move as time goes on, and business requirements may change – you may discover that your role is secure after all.
Once the redundancy programme has been successfully managed, you may question other aspects, such as: ‘Is this actually an organisation that I enjoy working for?’ and ‘Do I believe in their HR business model?’ By this stage, you will have delivered the programme in line with best practice and maintained morale as much as possible; this experience is invaluable, and you will take it with you and build on it throughout your career.
If you decide that it is time to move on after all, you will need to ensure your CV is up to date and effectively markets your skills to secure your next role as quickly as possible.
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