This week has already seen two huge British businesses confirmed widespread redundancies. Yesterday Boots revealed it was cutting up to 700 head office jobs, while today HSBC said as many as 25,000 jobs would be going at the bank, of which 8,000 will be from the UK.
For many people nowadays, redundancy is a fact of life. But what should you do if you find yourself in that position? These 12 points should guide you through your first steps from hearing the news to getting back in the saddle.
1) Understand what the deal is
Establish if the organisation is: taking you through a consultation period (where the organisation review what job roles they do and don’t need in the future); offering you voluntary redundancy (meaning that you can chose to leave and try to negotiate a compensation package with your employer); or making compulsory redundancies (meaning your role is no longer available and you can try to negotiate a compensation package with your employer).
2) Understand what the process is
Ask what dates and deadlines they are working to, allowing you to understand where you need to focus your time and priorities. How long do you have until your last pay cheque, for example, if you are being made redundant? Or is there an option during a consultation period to state why your role shouldn’t be made redundant?
3) Find out what is expected of you now
If you are in a redundancy consultation period, can you take time off for interviews? If your role has been confirmed as redundant, then are you expected to carry on working as usual in your role? And if not, what should happen to current projects you are working on?
4) Ask if you can be excused for the day of the announcement and reflect
Being told you are at risk of redundancy can be a shock, very stressful and upsetting. It’s only natural that you may feel anger towards the company; in fact the emotions experienced at this time are often likened to grief - that of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But being in control of your emotions and reactions is really important – so give yourself some distance if you need to get them back in check.
5) Don’t be ashamed
Redundancy is not personal; it’s relatively commonplace and is more of a reflection of the dynamic environment that many organisations operate in. That said, it’s still a difficult time. Call upon your friends, family and colleagues for support – but remember that redundancy can also be a positive thing, taking your life in a new and exciting direction.
6) Use outplacement support quickly and get advice
Your employer may have organised outplacement support, which can mean access to career experts to help you think through next steps and get you on track to achieving your goals. If they haven’t you could ask them whether they would consider offering it to you. Use their expertise to get your CV and interview skills up-to-date, whilst challenging yourself to think about what you really want to do next.
7) Don’t mail out your CV immediately
It can be tempting to send your CV out far and wide, as panic sets in about where your next pay cheque is coming from. You need to take a targeted approach as opposed to signing up to multiple recruiters, jobs boards and direct mailing can mean that one potential employer receives your CV numerous times and effectively gets ‘spammed’ – which could scupper your chances of securing an interview.
8) Think about your next steps carefully
Considering how much of our life is spent at work, you need to make sure the next opportunity is right for you, providing you with fulfilling and meaningful opportunities. Don’t just fall into the same career you’ve done since leaving education – now is the time to shake things up. Equally, if you enjoy your career – you’ll still need to consider your next company carefully, as your happiness is intricately entwined with it.
9) Remember: It’s a job to find a job
Building connections, finding suitable roles, writing covering letters, tailoring your CV, attending multiple interviews – it takes time to find a great job. Give yourself time to do job hunting justice, set aside dedicated time. Be organised and be dedicated.
10) Be aware of your personal brand
We all know to ‘lock down’ and amend privacy settings on personal social media networks such as Facebook, as no potential employer wants to see how great your weekend in Ibiza was, but what about consistency on the sites you do want them to see such as LinkedIn and your professional blog? Make sure all open profiles that highlight your expertise and experience are consistent – so your CV correlates with your LinkedIn profile, Twitter and Instagram account.
11) List your networks
Networks are built up for a reason and now is the time to make yours work for you. Look at all the people in your professional and personal networks and see if there is anyone you can get in touch with to support with your next career move; reconnecting with an old boss, speaking to the cousin that has a dream career in retail, or catching up with a friend who has gone it alone, could inspire you in your next career move. They may also be able to make introductions – but remember to consider the ‘WIFM factor’ (what’s in for me) and be prepared to return the favour later on.
12) Don’t panic - this could be the best thing that ever happened to you
If you’ve found yourself daydreaming at work about a better job, redundancy could be a blessing in disguise – giving you the kick start needed to take action and find a new career.