Blog // How to Manage a Redundancy in Tech Like a Pro

How to Manage a Redundancy in Tech Like a Pro

Redundancies are up there with a visit to a dentist on the list of painful experiences. Whether you are on the issuing end or the receiving end, redundancies are awkward, challenging and a disruption to the normal order of things. But they are a fact of working life and an inevitability when running an organisation.

The wave of tech redundancies that gathered pace overseas from 2022 has lapped at our ankles here in New Zealand, with companies large and small shedding chunks of their workforce (Xero, Microsoft, Eroad, Laybuy, Spark, One NZ). 

Despite New Zealand organisations seeing fewer tech layoffs relative to their US and European counterparts, there is a recognisable level of uncertainty out there right now - so it is not a bad idea to have a game plan for how to manage redundancy, or how to survive one. 

What to Do If You Are Being Made Redundant 

Yes, it can be tough out there for those on the frontline of tech layoffs, or in any other industry for that matter - only half of workers can find new jobs immediately after a redundancy, with future earnings potentially taking a hit. Having a plan and focusing on staying positive is vital for making the most of a tricky situation. 

Stay Calm and Collected: Your mindset is crucial at this time. Keeping your cool will help you approach the situation with clarity and resilience. Remember, redundancy is not a reflection of your worth as an employee - it is a business decision. 

Know Your Rights: Familiarise yourself with your employment contract, company policies, and New Zealand laws regarding redundancy. You should fully understand your entitlements, including redundancy pay, notice period, and any other benefits owed to you. This gives you the chance to raise issues with your employer if anything seems amiss.

Review Your Finances: Income loss is usually the biggest anxiety arising from being made redundant, so it helps to take stock of your financial situation. Creating a budget to manage your expenses during the transition period will help you calibrate your next direction. Explore any financial assistance or benefits that might be available to you, either through your employer, or via government support. 

Prioritise Your Mental Health: Being made redundant can stir up a range of complex emotions and stress. For many people, it is a period of major upheaval and transition. Show kindness and patience to yourself and prioritise taking time out when feelings get overwhelming. Remember, it is not your fault! Seek help and support from your network. If you are struggling, talk to a health professional who can hear you out and offer guidance. 

Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile: It is time to start updating your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your skills, experience, and achievements. You might want to collect LinkedIn recommendations from colleagues at this time, as these can add a decent boost to your profile.

Network and Explore Opportunities: Reach out to your professional network as soon as possible. Getting the word out that you are on the market for a new job can help you land on your feet quicker, as former colleagues, clients and industry contacts can be more willing to give you a helping hand in a time of need. 

Consider Upskilling: It will not hurt to assess your skill set and identify areas where you can upskill to enhance your employability in the current job market. Check out online courses, workshops, or certifications that can beef up your resume. 

Talk to a Recruiter: The tired old approach to job hunting, responding to job ads that hundreds of others are applying to, will not cut it in this market. As soon as you have caught wind of a redundancy on your horizon, approach a recruiter quickly. They can give you a proper head start on your job search and connect you with real opportunities (not fake ones), many of which are not advertised. 

How to Manage Redundancy as an Employer 

If the thought of making an employee or a whole team redundant makes you want to run for the hills, congratulations, you are not devoid of empathy. However difficult (or easy) you find it, there are ways to approach this situation with tact, discretion and sensitivity. 

Play by the Rules: Redundancies are a major business decision with potential legal ramifications if not handled correctly. That means you need to ensure any layoffs are made by the book and for sound business reasons (e.g. financial constraints, changes in market demand, or restructuring). Obtaining legal advice is a sensible step to take before anything becomes official. 

Communicate Decisions Clearly: Once a decision is made, communicate it to affected employees as soon as possible. Provide them with the business reasons for the decision and how the process will play out. 

Offer Support to Affected Employees: Give affected team members access to resources (such as outplacement and counselling) and be attentive to any concerns and questions they may have. 

This is usually the most delicate and difficult aspect of the process for managers, so it is sensible to show empathy and be aware of mental health issues that can arise for employees receiving a redundancy. 

Remember that being communicative and transparent about the process can make a huge difference in the employees mental health. Give them clarity about their final pay and entitlements, provide them with a written reference and ensure you say goodbye respectfully - these are important gestures that will mean a lot to the employee. 

Be Attentive to Your Mental Health: As a manager involved in the redundancy process, you are likely not immune to the emotional toll it can take. Do seek support from friends, colleagues or health professionals when you need to process your emotions and manage stress. 

You may need time to reflect on what is happening and to process it, so keep in mind that burying yourself further in your work might not be a helpful coping strategy! Practising self-care techniques such as mindfulness, exercise, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance can help you alleviate the impacts of the redundancy process on your mental health.

Handle the Exit Professionally: It is crucial at this time to show respect, especially as carelessness at this time can actually hurt your employer brand. Give departing employees clear instructions on their notice period, final pay, return of company property, and any other logistical arrangements. Seize the opportunity to conduct exit interviews, as these can help you uncover actionable intel for managing employees in future. 

Mitigate the Impact: Once the redundancy process is over, rebuilding morale, trust, and productivity will likely be in order. Employees can get rattled by seeing their colleagues get laid off, so you may need to work at allaying their fears. This is a good time to implement strategies to re-engage employees and reinforce the companys vision and values moving forward.

Final Thoughts 

When you are being made redundant, remember that you can and will bounce back from it. If you are a business owner or manager on the frontline of tech redundancies, handling the process with care will help reduce the ripple effects they can cause for your organisation. In either case, it is best to plan your next moves carefully and always consider the big picture. 

Whether you are a software engineer, product owner or programme manager facing a layoff, or an employer issuing redundancies, Digital Garage can help you through the process and come out shining.

With over 35 years of combined experience in technology and digital recruitment, we have supported numerous organisations and talented professionals in New Zealand with outplacement services and career assistance. Contact us today for help with landing your next tech job, restructuring your team, or hiring for a new role.   

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