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Redundancy Readiness – Are You Ready If the Boss Calls You In?

With the recent impact of COVID-19 on employment throughout the world, you could be forgiven for wondering whether your job is next for the chop. Yet this isn’t necessarily unique because employment crises come around roughly every 10 years. That’s why it’s a good idea to always be prepared in case the worst happens.

While the greatest threat from redundancy is to your income, its impact goes far beyond the financial. The emotional impact must be considered too.

WHAT IS REDUNDANCY READINESS?

Redundancy readiness isn’t about sitting around and waiting for the axe to fall. It’s about putting contingencies in place and drawing on them as needed. Being ready should give you peace of mind, not cause you anxiety.

And being ready has never been more important with the rapid changes brought by technological innovation and rising globalisation. It’s more than having enough cash in the bank, however. It’s about having a mindset that sees change and gives you a flexible range of responses to that perceived change.

Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for a potential job loss.

1. ALLOW YOURSELF TO RECOVER

Emotional fallout

If redundancy happens, it’s likely to be a shock. That’s why it’s important to give yourself time to recover, including a ‘mourning period’ where you let go of your past role and everything it gave you and get ready for your next career step. You’re likely to need time to work through your emotions, which could include disbelief, anger, depression, guilt and fantasy about what will happen next. Make sure you have you have the support you need from friends and family as well as professional counsellors.

Time to heal

A transition period has no defined time period so be patient with yourself. Your negative emotions will gradually be replaced by more positive ones. Depression and anger will turn to excitement and anticipation when you see new possibilities. And in time, you’ll accept redundancy, set new goals and take action towards achieving them.

2. DIVE INTO ACTION

Set goals and plan your time

Action is the antidote of fear and fear is likely to be your biggest enemy when dealing with redundancy. Once you’ve processed your emotions, begin setting goals for yourself. Start asking yourself what you want to happen next. What would you like to do, have and be? How bold could you be if you knew you couldn’t fail? When you know what you want, you can begin setting useful goals.

Work out what steps you need to take to bring each goal to fruition. Some goals will require you to step outside your comfort zone, where others will be more familiar and routine. It’s about balancing doing what’s new with doing what’s familiar so you preserve your energy for more challenging steps.

Get clear on what you have to offer

When you understand which of your skills and experiences are of value to a new employer, it’s easier to communicate them to a prospective employer in terms of how you anticipate making a positive impact on the company and team you’re joining. If there’s a role you want that you’re not entirely qualified for, you may need to training to develop or refresh certain areas of your skillset and experience.

3. GET ORGANISED

Get prepared

Planning ahead will help you to move quickly through emotional turmoil and think clearly. Preparation can take a variety of forms:

  • Research potential new roles and employers who may want your skills.
  • Keep your CV up to date by adding details of your successes as you go along.
  • Define your career goals and check they fit with your values and personal goals.
  • Take some time to consider what changes you’re interested in pursuing.
  • Take an inventory of your transferable skills and assess their value to employers.

Start planning

Redundancy can leave you feeling devalued, worthless and even a failure. At the top of this list is depression, which can be brought about by hopelessness and poor self-care. Having a plan that supports you and gives you time to breathe is paramount when it comes to helping you stay physically fit and mentally active.

4. LOOK AT YOUR FINANCES

Start saving

If you prepare for an uncertain future, you’ll be far more able to cope if the worst happens. Do what you can to create a nest egg so you have more than your redundancy payment to fall back on. This removes a lot of stress from the situation. If you can’t save, look at where you can reduce your outgoings as this will stretch your money further and allow you to pay off any debts.

Create a financial cushion

If you’re able to do so, create a financial safety net for yourself. A redundancy payment might last for a while, but it’s good to have some savings in the bank too. Look into getting some income protection or accident, sickness and unemployment (ASU) insurance, though be sure to check that redundancy is covered and whether you need to pay into the scheme for a period of time before you can draw on it.

5. UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS

Seek legal help

Find your employment contract and make sure you understand what you’re entitled to get. If you’re not sure, feel you’ve been unfairly treated or are facing any issues around redundancy, seek professional advice. Get your redundancy package checked by a professional before you sign it and make sure your employer is meeting their legal obligations.

Ask about an outplacement package?

Define what equitable redundancy terms would look like so you can negotiate for what you need. Ask about outplacement benefits and what support you’re likely to get when looking for your next role.

6. GET RECRUITMENT-READY

As well as sorting the finances, be ready for a job hunt. Make sure your CV and LinkedIn page are up to date and include any achievements and qualifications you’ve notched up since you were last looking for work.

It’s also worth speaking to a recruitment consultant as they’ll understand where your skills and experience are relevant and how you could improve your prospects. You might need to upskill, or it might be a case of tailoring your CV to particular employers or roles.

Update your cv

Updating your CV often takes much longer than you think, so don’t wait until you’ve been made redundant before you start thinking about it. Keep it succinct, no more than two sides, and really sell yourself. If you don’t, no-one else will. Craft it carefully to the job you are applying for.

Make yourself more employable

Given how competitive the job market can be, do whatever you can to make yourself more attractive to employers. Grab every opportunity that comes your way. It may be worth volunteering for extra duties and more responsibility. Put yourself forward for breakfast meetings, business lunches and industry seminars. Ensure you meet as many people in your industry as possible because any contacts you make could prove very useful in the future.

7. START NETWORKING

Live networking

It might seem tempting to stop contacting friends and former colleagues and bury your head in the sand, but it’s much better to keep your networks going to help you find a new job faster. Get yourself out there, make as many connections as you can and make sure everyone knows you’re good at what you do and that they know the face behind the name.

Raise your profile within an organisation or association related to your area of work, if appropriate. Network with colleagues in other organisations or industries that interest you. Forming connections and talking to others will stop you feeling isolated and will help keep your morale high.

Online networking

Of course, social distancing might make in-person networking a challenge. If that’s the case, use social media. As the largest professional network, LinkedIn should be your go-to network. It allows you to find work and be found by employers. It can also be a good source of information and can keep you in the loop so you don’t lose touch with developments. Keep your profile updated and start networking now, rather than leaving it until the worst has happened before you start making connections.

8. STAY POSITIVE

Mindset matters

You’re more likely to lose hope and feel isolated if you don’t accept and acknowledge redundancy. Maintaining a positive outlook and believing there is more and better to come will enable you to weather the storm and sustain your job-seeking efforts.

Create a support network

Having people around you who understand what you’re going through and who can pick you up when you get down is essential to surviving and thriving after redundancy. Some may be existing friends and family but new people may also come into your network. This is healthy and can give you a sense of belonging as well as keeping feelings of isolation at bay.

9. TIME FOR OTHER OPTIONS?

Seize the opportunity for change

Although redundancy is hard, look for the hidden gifts in the situation. This is an ideal time to ask yourself if what you had with your previous role is what you really want or if it’s time for something new. Consider what’s important to you and whether it might be time for a bigger change, like an entirely new career, working in a different sector or industry or even starting your own business. Thinking about this now will prepare you for redundancy and may prompt you to take the initiative.

Now’s the time to…

No one wants to be told they’re losing their job, but even ‘bad’ events can lead to good outcomes. If you can tuck away some redundancy money and face up to losing your job security, it can be the perfect time to reinvent yourself and try something new. There are many stories of job loss being a catalyst for positive change that impacts your life as well as what work you do.

10. THE BENEFITS OF OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES

Outplacement services

Outplacement is a service designed for staff who have been made redundant. It helps them move on and find new work with their current employer or a new one. Outplacement services offer both practical and emotional support through career counselling and also empower job seekers with search techniques and skills. The service is usually paid for by an employee’s company as part of their redundancy package, so it’s worth negotiating for this if it’s not currently on offer to you.

The benefits of online outplacement

Online Outplacement has many advantages over traditional outplacement programmes, not least because it’s available 24/7 and allows the job seeker to access it whenever and wherever they want. At Career Consultants, our Online Outplacement service includes time with a career coach as well as a job-search portal that includes an array of guidance and information.

CONCLUSION: EMBRACE THE JOURNEY

Like happiness, success is hard to define and can come and go. It’s a state of mind rather than a goal you can work towards. And when it comes to surviving redundancy, it’s important to see the event as part of a bigger journey. As work becomes less reliable, recognising that the role you had last year may be obsolete next year is the best preparation you can have for managing change in your work, life and career.

But don’t despair. Even though some roles and industries are under threat, new ones are being born all the time. That means there are plenty of new opportunities and jobs if you prepare and learn how to spot where new roles are likely to be.

Once you accept change as part of the mix life serves up to you, you’ll be ready for whatever comes along. And that means you’ll do more than survive periods of uncertainty, you’ll bounce back faster and better than you imagined possible.

Do reach out if you need support or help to get you back in a job quickly.