Any change in a business can have a big emotional impact on staff. But nothing is a bigger challenge to the willingness and ability of staff to do their job well than a redundancy programme. Here are a few tips to help your business get through the rough period: Tackle guilt
The guilt felt by redundancy survivors in a small business can be much greater than that of workers in larger organisations as employees typically know those affected very well and feel guilty about having a job when others have not been so lucky. Help them move on by ensuring they understand the reasons behind decisions. Anything you do to help redundant staff – for instance outplacement services to help with interview skills etc – should be shared with survivors so they see you taking a proactive role in looking after former colleagues. Carry on talking
Good communication is essential throughout the redundancy programme. But don’t stop when the process is over. Make sure information and insights continue to be shared. You want staff to remain committed to your business, rather than purely compliant, so listen to their concerns and offer reassurance where you can and be responsive to feedback. Where suggestions and complaints can not be addressed in the way staff would like, explain why and look for alternative solutions. Focus on the future
Resentment can linger long after any change has been made if people do not feel involved in what is happening to them. Ensure staff are aware of their role and value within the new operation. Participation reduces resistance to change and encourages more creative problem-solving, so make sure no one is unintentionally left out of taking on new tasks, training, decision-making or skill sharing. Set clear objectives
Where the business has been restructured, it is important for staff to know where it is heading. Clearly define new objectives and take time to discuss and clarify them with everyone involved. Keep monitoring progress and give lots of feedback – let people know the areas where they are doing well, as well as where they need to improve. You can easily spot people doing things right in the smaller business so take time to reinforce new working practices by giving lots of praise. Give proper training
Where staff have left the business, it is easy for remaining employees to feel put upon with additional workload or new responsibilities. Ensure everyone has the right skills to carry out new roles or additional tasks and resist the temptation to slash spending on training – people cannot perform without the skills they need for the job. Training need not be costly, so look for value alternatives such as experienced team members helping other staff develop new skills. Don’t give up
Change takes time, but it will happen quicker where staff feel motivated to try new things and have the freedom to succeed – even to make mistakes. Focus on the end goal, but be prepared for the long haul.

For further advice on restructuring see Calibre HR & Training’s free factsheet at