Managers need training in job cuts

Redundancy programmes can be distressing for employees and legal mistakes can be expensive. Despite this, many employers are not...

Redundancy programmes can be distressing for employees and legal mistakes can be expensive. Despite this, many employers are not equipping their managers with the skills to deal with the emotional, legal and motivational fall-out of job cuts, according to data from The Work Foundation's latest monthly survey on workplace issues.

When companies are making redundancies, managers tend to be the first people that employees go to with their concerns. They have an important role in maintaining employee morale, commitment and performance.

However the survey - Managing Redundancy - found that 48% of the organisations, which responded, provide no training to help managers handle potentially sensitive situations.

The Work Foundation's Nick Isles said, "Although employment levels are high, the economic downturn is forcing many employers to cut costs. Some 148,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the last three months of 2002 alone. Companies know that badly handled redundancy programmes are bad for the business, but may be unsure of how to improve the process.

"How employees respond may depend largely on the way the workforce is treated before, during and after the changes. Recognising and preparing managers to break the news, be available to provide advice, information and emotional support, as well as help the process move forward should be an integral part of any organisational restructuring."

Of the organisations that provide or plan to provide training for their managers, most popular is training in how to let people know that there will be redundancies (65%); how to listen (60%); the legal processes/pitfalls (59%); and how to deal with the strong emotions of their team (46%). Just over a quarter (27%) provide training in how to build morale, and 24% on how to cope with feelings of guilt.

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