Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Eight steps to assessment for redundancy or redeployment 17/08/2012
What are the best steps to take when making an employee redundant? Rachael Skews, consultant at a&dc, gives her best tips on how to remain fair and balanced during the process.
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- Unavoidable changes
- Step one: have clear objectives
- Step two: employee representatives and unions
- Step three: communicate and position the process
- Step four: understand what to assess
- Step five: manage special requirements
- Step six: identify tools for assessment
- Step seven: maintain objectivity and fairness
- Step eight: feedback
There are two words we all dread: redundancy and redeployment. No one wants to be in the situation where these are the only options to take but there are times when this is, unfortunately, unavoidable.
At these times you have to make sure you implement a fair and objective assessment process to ensure the right talent is kept on for the future of the business. To do this, a&dc have eight key steps to guide you through the process.
Step one: have clear objectives
This is first and foremost a strategic business decision and, as such, it is crucial that you clarify the objectives of the process. The reasoning behind such drastic steps must be outlined, understood and agreed by everyone involved in the process. Perhaps most importantly though, you must ensure an HR representative is present at all briefings to provide the ‘people’ perspective to the situation.
Step two: employee representatives and unions
Understandably, people are likely to be upset and concerned about their job security in this difficult period, so communication is key. Sharing and agreeing points with unions and/or employee representatives allows all parties the opportunity to influence the assessment policy before any changes are made. This will help to reduce the likelihood of appeals at the end of the process.
This doesn’t mean things will run smoothly though and you will need to plan for every scenario. Make sure you have a redundancy appeals procedure to deal with complaints, should anyone feel the assessment procedure was unfairly applied to them.
Step three: communicate and position the process
Talking to staff during the process really cannot be underestimated. Make sure you have ongoing communication and support to help to put people at ease during the process. For example, you should provide information which clarifies what they can expect and what the process will involve.
Once the first announcement has been made, try to minimise uncertainty by announcing plans to all involved and allowing for questions. Explain to staff how the assessment and decision making process will work so there is absolute clarity on what will happen next.
Step four: understand what to assess
You will also need to ensure the criteria for selection is relevant to the roles being applied for by carrying out job analysis. This involves talking to, and possibly observing, anyone currently in the affected roles to identify:
- The behaviours demonstrated (which will be assessed)
- Types of tasks completed (which will inform the choice or design of exercises)
- Level of behaviours required for success (which will become the benchmark for identifying effective employees)
Step five: manage special requirements
When you’re designing the assessment process, always consider any individuals who may have special requirements. For example, have you sorted accessibility to any facilities used for staff with physical disabilities, and organised help for anyone with learning difficulties or visual impairment?
Step six: identify tools for assessment
If you are using Assessment Centres as part of a redundancy process, you must make sure, for legal reasons, that the tools used provide an equal opportunity for all participants, regardless of their knowledge or previous experiences. Tools for selection can include psychometric tests, questionnaires, application forms, structured interviews and business simulation exercises.
By understanding the role requirements and what good performance looks like, you will be able to identify the key six to eight competencies you need to assess and, in turn, which tools will be appropriate. Once you have selected your assessment tools you should try them out. This will give you a clearer idea as to whether they are aimed at the right level for your specific purpose and will enable you to create a benchmark.
Step seven: maintain objectivity and fairness
A key reason for using Assessment Centres is that they are one of the fairest and most objective selection tools available, meaning they can help you ensure that your assessment is legally defensible.
Throughout the process you must ensure that all participants receive the same experience, communications and are treated equally when scoring, to reduce the possibility of complaints.
Scoring rules should be applied in the same way to all participants. These should be determined in advance so you don’t make decisions after seeing individual participant results. This is an important part of the process, as ultimately this is what your decisions are based on. You should also make sure the process is overseen by an independent centre manager, who is an experienced assessor, able to coach the assessing team and maintain objectivity.
Step eight: feedback
Giving feedback is often overlooked, but it shows your commitment to transparency and to supporting individuals. Providing clear and objective feedback around strengths and development areas for those leaving the organisation, and those retained, adds real value.
While assessment for redundancy or redeployment is a difficult and often draining process, following these eight steps can help you reduce the damage to your brand and relationship your workforce. If you would like more information on the redundancy and redeployment process, visit the a&dc website, where you can watch a webinar and download additional resources.
Rachael Skews, consultant, a&dc
Rachael Skews is a consultant at talent management consultancy a&dc. Her experience working in HR consulting has involved helping clients with a variety of issues, from assessment and development of talent, to stress and change management.