From education to employment

Line Managers Insufficiently Trained to Handle Redundancies

woman sat on chair

 Lack of support in the redundancy process is a detriment to the mental health of line managers, with 74% of employers not providing any training

According to a recent WorkNest poll, the vast majority (80%) of employers said budget cuts, low business demands, and inflation are driving their need to make redundancies; however, 74% of employers aren’t providing any training to their line managers to handle this. 

While 24% of line managers have had generic wellbeing training, 82% have not received specific wellbeing training to handle redundancies. Line managers not being trained or supported to manage redundancies will inevitably lead to a rise in mental health issues with the undue stress of handling such challenging conversations. 

Additionally, half of the employers (52%) aren’t considering providing outplacement support to help employees find a new job after redundancy. However, outplacement support can aid employees in building their CVs and assessing their future career goals and what they want to achieve out of their next role. 

With the national living wage increase in April and the economy forecast to contract in each quarter of 2023, more and more employers (11%) are increasingly becoming stressed that making redundancies may be their only option. 

A rise in redundancy-related enquiries to WorkNest from employers looking for advice also reflects this. WorkNest revealed that queries concerning redundancy increased by 17.5% in the last three months (November 2022 to January 2023) compared to the previous three months (August 2022 to October 2022).  

Danielle Scott, Employment Law Adviser and Solicitor at WorkNest, commented:

“Employees are already facing financial worries with the rising inflation rate and cost of living. Being in a redundancy situation is not what they need right now. Unfortunately, businesses are struggling to make ends meet, and declining business demands mean they’re being forced to make employees redundant to reduce costs.   

“It’s important businesses are cautious if they are going through a redundancy situation and ensure they take legal advice before going ahead. They need to ensure employees selected for redundancy is a decision made objectively, and they are not discriminating in any form, e.g. ‘last in, first out’ and disability or pregnancy-related absences. Employers should consider if there are any alternatives to redundancy such as offering alternative employment or reducing hours instead?” 

WorkNest’s HR Consultant, Louise Harvey, added:

“Unfortunately, line managers often get forgotten about when redundancy situations occur, and it can be difficult for them to make sure any members of their team being made redundant feel supported. It’s, therefore, essential to ensure line managers are trained on how to handle a redundancy process. Sometimes, their team are not just colleagues, but friendships may have formed as well. So, it’s crucial to support line managers in dealing with the emotional aspect of it all. 

 “It also doesn’t come as a surprise that most employers aren’t considering outplacement support for employees who are being made redundant as they struggle to contend with rising costs. However, any additional support an employer can provide their exiting employees can offer them some comfort, especially if they haven’t been in the job market for a while.” 

Research by WorkNest, the employment law, HR consultancy and health and safety support firm, questioned 227 employers on handling redundancies in January 2023. 

Related Articles