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Facing redundancy – 8 tips on how to make the most of the consultation period

A redundancy consultation period can be anything from a few days to a few months.  For most people this time goes by in a blur.  Some people will be in denial and keep working right up until their last day, others will disengage and do as little as possible, they feel lost and unable to cope.  For some it will be an opportunity to get started on the practicalities of looking for another job.

The consultation period represents a valuable time.  Focusing on the practicalities such as updating your CV and planning your job search are important, here are some tips on other things you can do to make the most of the time:

Think about your lasting impressions

We’ve all seen recently in American politics about how not to leave a job and those lasting impressions are what people most remember you for.  The consultation period is a time for making your lasting impressions.  A redundancy can make us feel threatened which can lead to a stress response and impact on our emotions.  Thinking about how you respond versus react during the consultation period will ensure you’re remembered for the right reasons.  It can be difficult to remain calm when faced with redundancy, however I know from personal experience that the way we handle ourselves in difficult times is a measure of our strength of character, and other people do notice.  Think about how you want your friends, colleagues and senior leaders to remember you.

Keep an open mind

Depending on your experience and industry you may need to think more widely about your next role.  There could also be internal opportunities on offer that you may not have otherwise considered.  Your role may be at risk of redundancy, however all the skills and experience you’ve gained are still with you and many will be transferrable to other sectors and jobs.  Think about what you enjoy about your job, what do you want to do more or less of, what type of work interests you, what are your strengths and skills.  You may be surprised by how much of this is transferrable to other industries and specialisms.

Communicate

The consultation period is all about communication so make sure you are persistent in asking questions or making proposals to your line manager or employee representatives.  The company has to ensure a legally compliant process is followed and allowing you to put forward your ideas and ask questions is a crucial part of ‘meaningful consultation’.  Communication is also important for your mental health, talk to trusted friends and colleagues about what you’re going through and seek professional help where necessary.

Mental Health Charity Mind offers free advice and support.

Start networking

When people hear you’re at risk of redundancy they will rally round to offer their support and be keen to do what they can to help, this includes friends, family, current and past work colleagues, customers and suppliers.  Make sure you’re super specific with them about the type of work you’re looking for, ask them all for any connections they may have that they could introduce you to, what recruitment agencies do they recommend, who do they know that might be useful to speak to, do they know of any suitable opportunities?  This is the beginning of your networking.

Ask for feedback

The consultation period is a great opportunity to ask for feedback.  Many people don’t have regular feedback or appraisals, however asking for feedback during the consultation period is another way managers and colleagues can help you.  Feedback will help you to increase your self awareness, build confidence and help you to think about your skills and strengths – all of this may give you an insight into an area of work you’d previously not thought about. 

Reflect on your achievements

Most of us don’t update our CVs unless we have to.  If it’s been a long time since you last updated your CV it can be difficult to remember all the achievements, projects and work you’ve been involved in especially without notes or systems to refer to after you’ve left.  During the consultation period take time to review your previous performance appraisals, look back at your diary for prompts of projects or teams you were involved in, review physical or online to-do lists and notes.  This exercise will also allow you to reflect on the work you enjoyed and what you found challenging, and is an opportunity to start building interview material as well as thinking about what you want from your next role.

Find a buddy

Having someone else who’s in the ‘same boat’ can have a positive impact on your mental health during the consultation period and beyond.  You can share ideas, listen and support each other and act as an accountability partner to ensure you stay focused with your goals.

Review your finances

Unless you’re financially stable, redundancy can result in significant financial challenges.  Do some planning up front, take a look at your financial situation, review your bills and financial commitments and overlay this with your redundancy pay.  What do you need to cut back on, what can you go without, what financial support could you qualify for, can you apply for payment holidays for loans etc, how long can you survive before needing to secure another job, what would you need to do if you don’t secure a job in that time? 

Most consultation periods go by quickly as there’s lots to think about and organise, both personally and professionally.  Combining these tips with the practical steps to help secure your next role will help to manage your lasting impressions and set you up for a sustainable job search.

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