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Rethinking Your Team: How to Make Redundancies Respectfully

Have you noticed there have been a few botched redundancies making the rounds over headlines, forums, and comment boards? No CEO appears to have asked the question: how to make redundancies respectfully? The latest is that Google made a sweeping redundancy of a YouTube Music team, which they were informed of during a (recorded) Austin City Council meeting. In the same week, Vice was roasted for their conduct through their redundancy system, which ended in a “town meeting”, or a mass video call, where CEO Bruce Dixon asked to turn off the chat to ignore the (mostly thumbs down) emojis. Yahoo Finance called it “a modern twist on throwing tomatoes on at a performer on stage”.

And that’s just the latest examples. Redundancies are a situation where a lot of people are on edge. Emotions are high. Even if you survived this round, are you going to be next? It requires a steady hand and understanding.

Make sure that you don’t become another headline with our guide on how to make redundancies with care and professionalism.

Evaluate Thoroughly

Redundancies should be a last-ditch attempt, and usually are, to stay afloat. It’s important that you thoroughly evaluate the need for redundancies and what roles will be impacted when considering how to make redundancies. Take a look at skills, performance, and job duties that might be able to be consolidated. This might be an opportunity to trim the fat of employees who aren’t performing as needed. However, remember that it’s important to make rational, unbiased decisions based on business needs.

Treat Team Members with Respect

If those case studies show us anything, it’s that respect is paramount to this process. It’s a redundancy, which means you are severing any loyalty that people had to the company. If you treat them wrong, that last line of defence, being simple sentimentality for the job, will also be erased and you could be facing a PR nightmare.

Even on a small scale, make sure that every employee is treated with dignity. Consider offering to help out where you can, such as transition assistance, reasonable severance, references, etc.

And most importantly, give staff members the choice to resign rather than be terminated, as that might aid a range of issues, including claiming benefits.

Communicate Transparently

The best way to convey respect when thinking about how to make redundancies is to start with communication. It’s important to be upfront with your staff about the situation and the reasons for the redundancies. Make sure to give staff as much time as possible when they’re noticed. It might be the best idea to have leadership handle breaking this news since it’s too big an issue. It might come off as gossip or not something to worry about if team or middle management handle it.

Support Remaining Staff

Don’t forget about the rest of your team when the redundancies are done. You will now be working with a much smaller team taking on a lot more work. Make sure to stay transparent and listen to concerns from the team. You might need to consider retraining to get all responsibilities covered or consider new ways to energize and refocus your remaining team when thinking about how to make redundancies respectfully.


We could mention tip after tip on how to make redundancies right, but the most important one, that is too often forgotten, it seems, is to be respectful. If you’re having trouble through this process, consider hiring one of our solicitors to help walk you through the process. We can ensure that legally you’re on the right track and offer advice on communication, but the respect for your team is up to you.