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Redundancies on horizon for nearly a fifth of employers

Almost one in five (18%) employers plan to let staff go in the next year according to new research from Acas.

Research from the public body, in partnership with YouGov, showed that large businesses were more likely to make staff redundant than small and medium sized companies (SMEs). 

It was found that 30% of large companies were likely to lay people off, compared to 10% of SMEs.

Managing workplace redundancies:

CEO fires 900 staff over Zoom: why failure to get redundancy right will have far-reaching implications

What should HR know about mass redundancies?

Handling redundancies with sensitivity

Matt Jenkin, employment partner at law firm Moorcroft, warned employers to approach the redundancy process with caution.

Speaking to HR magazine, Jenkin said meaningful consultation with employees would be crucial: "That will involve consultation on an individual basis and, if the number of redundancies exceed the necessary threshold, collective consultation with appropriate representatives which could include trade unions or other elected employee representatives.

"With the controversial P&O dismissals still very much in the public eye, employers should expect that the process they follow will be subject to close scrutiny.  As such, the process will need to be thought through and planned if errors are to be avoided.”

Jennifer Locklear, chief people officer at automation company ConnectWise, said HR professionals have a responsibility to help employees who lose their job as they transition to a new role.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "Instead of focusing on the contractual side of the transaction, it is an opportunity for HR partners to highlight the upside of our current employment market, arm the employee with the names of trusted recruiting agencies, and provide information on benefits that will be available during the transition to those being impacted.

“Redundancies can rock people’s lives and shake their confidence. From the employer side, it is a move to ensure financial stability and success; from the employee side, it can make one question personal value - this is what HR professionals need to remember going into the conversation." 

Locklear added that HR departments should be mindful of the staff who stay in their roles.

She continued: "Employees who are not being made redundant could see an uptick in their workload, and may question how safe their own job is. HR can provide forums for remaining employees to discuss their fears, and how best to support the workload of those who are leaving the organisation.”

Acas surveyed 1074 adults between 28 March and 5 April 2022 as part of a YouGov poll.