So, beginning the procedure was not easy; consultations, letters, phone calls, all with people who for the vast majority I had grown up with, some who had been there every time I came to visit my Daddy at the office, all who had made a fuss over me, bought me birthday cards and made me feel completely accepted into the company when joining in April. My heart saying lets carry on, lets see how we go, my head saying do this now before it is too late.
Looking back I could not have done it any other way, it had to be then. I know I did everything right and I made sure at every stage we consulted each employee, probably too much to be honest. But if I have learned anything, it would be always over consult! Over 80% of redundancy cases stem from the employee feeling that they were not consulted enough about the decision.
It may take longer but as we had no budget for legal advice other than the FSB (Federation for Small Businesses) we needed to get it right, a case for unfair redundancy would have potentially finished us.
And so after 3 staff meetings and 2 individual consultations with each employee, we began the selection process. I decided to let the employees know via letter, which would arrive on a Saturday so they would not have to come into work.
We only had to make three redundancies, I could not imagine that kind of turmoil on a large scale. Two out of the three took the selection as it was intended, fairly, based on attendance, punctuality, responsibilities, and qualifications. One took it as though it was totally personal and gave me a bit of a hard time about it. I understood it completely, I know I would be angry too, so all I could do was stay calm, agree and try and aid their acceptance about what was happening. I don’t think we ever quite got there, they left ‘sick’ and never returned, in good faith we still gave them all of their redundancy and holiday pay. We didn’t want it to end like that, but I suppose it just got too personal…
“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” ~Robert McCloskey