An interesting question arose the other day. “What is best practice redundancy and where can I find some good references to it?”
It’s not really sensible to talk of ‘best practice’ of anything. If it were, managers would be following one another, doing just what others do and therefore getting management wrong in over 90% of occasions. If ‘best practice’ was indeed ‘best’ for all and always, there would only be one way to run a firm and all managers would just need to learn and follow that for absolute success. But all actions and interventions of management depend on the context in which the issue that they address exists. That context also includes the outcomes that the manager wants from the activity or intervention. The French have a good phrase for this – ‘Ça dépend du context’, said with a shoulder shrug of course!
So best practice depends on the outcomes that that the manager wants to achieve and the environment in which they are to achieve them. Since every organisation is different, every aim different, every manager different and every employee different, best practice is only best in one situation.
Now, whilst this sounds like utter confusion, there are of course principles developed by experience, research and the law that can be applied to each case. The skill of the manager is to know these principles and be able to apply them to the case in hand.
So to the question.
Best practice redundancy is one that obeys two principles: that it achieves what’s needed to sustain business for the organisation going forward and that it is done fairly. Underpinning these high-level principles are a number of vehicles that help ensure the principles are met. These include the organisation’s business plan, justification of the redundancy, the need to follow a robust procedure, the need to consult with staff, use of a pool system to identify who is redundant (in a group of people doing the same job) and the right of appeal against management’s decision.
Within these vehicles there is much at lower level to be decided – like determining fair selection criteria and timescales for consultation. And there are some musts – like notifying Government where appropriate.
So the questions that should first be asked are ‘what are we trying to achieve’ and ‘how do we do this fairly’? The rest follows.
Do check out our various publications on this site. Click SEARCH now and you’ll get a good number of hits on redundancy – then scan the excerpts to find specifics to guide your own situation. Or call us and we’ll help.