Sir Gerry Robinson calls on human resources to speed up redundancy processes

Human resources professionals should be more “brisk” when it comes to making redundancies, according to a leading management guru.

Speaking at the CIPD annual conference in Harrogate this week, organisational turnaround specialist Sir Gerry Robinson urged HR teams to get any job cuts done as quickly as possible – to minimise the potentially damaging impact on staff morale.

Speaking at theCIPD annual conference in Harrogate,Robinson, star of BBC2 series Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS?, said: “People hate change that is piecemeal. People want to know about redundancies quickly. Get it over within a week and move on. Don’t drag [redundancies] out over a year.”

He added: “Work out what you have to change, why, who you’ll have left at the end of it and get on with it. Be more brisk with redundancies.”

Robinson also offered some advice on how best to sack someone: “You have to separate the decision [to sack someone] from whether that person is right in the role or not. People intuitively feel when they’re in the wrong role. It’s a false kindness to keep people in a position when they’re not that good at it.”

Former BBC director general Greg Dyke, another keynote speaker, warned that HR could not act quickly during organisational change if the chief executive was not on board.

“HR cannot change the culture of an organisation – they need the chief executive to do that. At the BBC when I was there, they had one HR person for every 30 employees – because managers pushed all the tough decisions to HR. You cannot expect HR to own a culture change.

“If HR is to be effective, it needs a clear relationship with the chief executive and management team. Changes have to be led from the top.”

The keynote speeches received a rapturous response from delegates, despite a less than positive message about HR from the two leading business experts.

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