Redundancy is for life. Start to manage it

#careers #defyexpectations Mar 11, 2021
 Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

Of all the things that I have ever had to do as a leader making people redundant is the worst.  It never gets any easier to do, you can blame external circumstances, the economy, the competition, the government and at the moment the virus, but the hard reality is it is part of the company to managing its own survival.

Yet the truth is that redundancy is an inevitable part of life.  No company goes on for ever doing, no career goes on for ever.  Markets change, product lines change (IBM began by making bacon slicers), technology changes and what worked once does not work anymore.  That is true of companies, but it is also true for individuals.  Whatever your skills now they will not necessarily be the skills you will need in the future.  You cannot go back.  Politicians talk about reshoring jobs, that may happen but the jobs that come back will not be the jobs that left.  Anyone thinking that the low skilled, labour-intensive jobs that left to go to cheaper countries will come back is living in a dream world.  What may come back will be far more automated jobs that need high levels of skill.

If redundancy is inevitable then why are we so bad at planning for it?The less you plan the harder it will be to deal with.  The more you plan the more prepared you will be to manage redundancy. 

A redundancy plan – the company perspective

  1. Be clear about the threats and the opportunities in your market – spend time looking at the future of your customers and your products – not just in the next 3-year budget but over a much longer period.
  2. Understand the skills of your workforce and their readiness to embrace change.
  3. Continually look at the gaps you have in the skills you will need in the future – can you train the current workforce in these skills?
  4. Make sure that your financial position gives you resilience.Be wary of debt - it limits your options.
  5. Develop plans for moving staff in and out of the company that are flexible and acceptable.

 A redundancy plan – the individual perspective

  1. Be clear about the threats and the opportunities to your job.Does your company or your skill set have a future?  What are the threats?  How many of your skills can be automated?
  2. Understand your own skills, can they be applied in another industry, are there adjacent skills that you can learn?
  3. Continually look at the gaps you have in the skills you will need in the future and look at further training.
  4. How ready are you (and your family) to embrace change? Would you move areas and industries for another role?
  5. As far as you can ensure that your financial position gives you resilience.
  6. Keep watching the job market.
  7. Understand what your company offers in retraining and redundancy

If you have a plan, either corporate or individual then you can manage your own future. 

Pat Chapman-Pincher 

Pat has spent most of her career founding and growing leading edge technology companies all around the world.   Pat believes that thoughtful and inspiring leadership is critical to the future growth of the world economy and now uses her skills and experience to help leaders and teams at all levels reach their full potential and to help companies succeed in a world where technology is transforming the way we do business. 

Pat is a Founder of