The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides useful advice and guidance on various stages of the redundancy process. Hitherto overlooked, however, has been the role of those who have the job of delivering news of impending redundancies to employees and who help shape how the company will look and operate after the exercise is completed – termed ‘redundancy envoys’ or ‘tellers’ by Acas.
Following research into this aspect of downsizing and restructuring, the Acas booklet on handling redundancies has been updated and a new video, ‘Breaking bad news at work: The role of the redundancy envoy’, launched, giving specific advice on this vital role. This includes advice for employers on choosing a redundancy envoy and supporting them in the role. The employer should ensure that the redundancy envoy is:
- Fully informed of the business reasons for downsizing so that this can be communicated effectively to employees;
- Properly trained to handle the emotional nature of the conversations with employees;
- Given time to carry out the role, avoiding additional work pressure or a detrimental impact on the envoy’s home life;
- Not isolated but has others to turn to for support;
- Kept up to date as regards interest from outside the organisation so that they appear well informed and the reputation of the organisation is undamaged; and
aware of the role trade unions can play in supporting the envoy as well as other members.
The guidance and the video can be found here.
If you are considering reducing your workforce, we can help you manage the process and minimise the risk of a claim by an ex-employee. Contact Katie Bowen Nicholas for further advice.