by Colm Cavey, Professional Career Consultant.
Frequently you will hear people say, ‘Ah sure we saw it coming, business has been falling away for ages’. And then the day comes, staff meeting called, announcements are made, bad news all round and big staff cuts follow.
There is nothing more stressful than being told you are to finish up in a week or a month or worse still, being told you finish on Friday. No matter how this news is delivered it’s always a shock but the skill is not to sit like the proverbial rabbit staring at the headlights until your hit head on. When asked, most people will admit they knew redundancies were pending, but did nothing about it. Denial or doing nothing about it is the easy option, taking a hard and realistic view of what’s going on and starting to look for another job is the hard option, but more often than not, in the end, it’s the only option.
If you believe you are going to be targeted there are a few pre-emptive actions you should consider. Once redundancy announcements are made the competition for any job in your area of work will immediately become much more competitive. So get started ahead of the crowd. Also, any possibility of negotiating a better deal for yourself is gone.
The first and the most obvious action to take, is to start looking for another job. You must force yourself to start the process. And the starting point is deciding the kind of job you should pursue. Will it be more of the same or a change of some kind? If it is a change that is on your mind, be very careful in your self assessment. Relate your experience and skills to the marketplace you are targeting and ask yourself, realistically, ‘will I be seen as a likely candidate for that job type’. Be hard on yourself, be realistic. This is a hard thing to apply to yourself and a Career Assessment can be professionally done if required and recommended if a change is on your mind. But that’s another day’s work.
Assuming you have that first part right, prepare a good C.V. Lots have been written about C.V.’s so this is not the place to go over that topic. Suffice to say make sure it’s good, very good. If you need help with this there are lots who offer this kind of advice.
Usually along with the bad news a package will also be announced. This could be anything from statutory payment to multiples of your weekly pay per years of service and all depending on the organisation and the reason for the restructure. This is where you have to make a judgement call and get your timing right.
If you approach HR in advance of any announcement and ask advice on any exit package that might be available. When companies are expanding and hiring in new staff it’s announced all over the place and with big ones there will be Politicians scrambling to make the announcement on radio or T.V. etc. Redundancy planning, however, is always one of the best kept secrets within a company while in the planning stage so do not expect to be told any details of what plans are being considered. You might (and it’s only a might) however be possible to negotiate an exit package if a group programme package hasn’t been finalised.
If you indicate you may leave of your own accord it is preferable than HR having to do battle with you at a later date. The reason for your inquiry should be for a reason that doesn’t reflect badly on the company. Maybe travelling time is too much, family pressure, etc. In this way you just might negotiate a better package, ahead of the crowd. HR people are just human and they do not like having to tell colleagues and very often good friends, that their job is ended. That’s the hardest part of their work. So they will always try to avoid that option if it is at all possible and therefore negotiation will be preferable. The worst that can happen is nothing at all! So get your retaliation in first!
With redundancy employers can only offer a few things that they will be in a position to provide. First is the amount to be paid. Once the announcement is made this figure will be set in stone and will not be moved but you could and should ask if you are getting the maximum tax breaks on the payment. Statutory redundancy payments are tax exempt and for further payments above that amount there are further exemptions available so be sure to ask your HR if this has been addressed in your computation
Ask if you can have financial advice on how best to manage any lump sum being paid. Many companies will retain accountants to meet staff members and give advice based on your personal situation. A lump sum can melt away very quickly so ask for and use the advice given.
The Irish Revenue web site has all this information laid out in great detail and it’s very clear and easy to understand. Go to; http://www.revenue.iel
The only other service that can be of help is Career Change services. This is usually provided by Outplacement companies and needless to say, the Jobdoctor would be one good example. The service is delivered in one to one or group format, whichever is appropriate. Invaluable practical advice on every aspect of your career change will be covered and it can save weeks and weeks of job search time by guiding you very swiftly, in a structured manner through every aspect of your redeployment. So if Outplacement isn’t offered, ask for it. It’s very much the norm.
Lastly if you are the target of bad news, remember it’s the job that’s redundant. You are still the same competent person you were the day before the announcements. I know this is easy to say, but it’s true. It’s important to make a plan, apply it to a timetable, get busy and keep busy. You should adopt an approach that says you are fully employed looking for employment. There are lots of jobs out there it just requires a big effort, serious intent and a professional approach.
Further information about the author, Colm Cavey can be seen below and also at: www.jobdoctor.ie
About the author
Colm Cavey has over 24 years’ experience in helping people change careers and find the kind of job they want. Colm can review your CV, help you organise your job hunt and provide one to one interview and presentation coaching or all of those elements together in a full Career Change programme. To find out more about Colm you can contact him directly on +353-86-3017207 or via his company Professional Career Consulting