The Effects of Retrenchments & Redundancies

Retrenchment or redundancy affects different people in different ways. Some take the opportunity for a long awaited career change, others do something they always wanted to do but never had the spare cash or the balls to to – like start a business. Others go into a spiral of depression…..

This is some of late George Robotham’s best work and I hope you can share it with someone in this position – IT WILL DEFINITELY HELP. 

The Effects of Retrenchments / Redundancies

Retrenchments / Redundancies, supposedly to improve productivity, are a way of life in Australian industry and can have a devastating effect on those involved. One organisation I was involved with was the last in the company to be developed and thus attracted many people with long time experience in the company. When the redundancies were offered about 70 of the 95 supervisors and managers took up the offer. The effect of all that expertise walking out the door was enormous and it took the organisation a long time to recover.

Sometimes people retrenched / offered redundancies are working in a job they are happy in and believe they are doing a good job of; the effect on their self-esteem can be overwhelming. A sense of loss, worry about financial insecurity, uncertainty and depression can be effects. Sadly things may get so bad that some think about suicide

Being retrenched / made redundant should not be the subject of embarrassment in our modern times. It is not a reflection on your competency, rather it is a reflection on the change of approach / strategy by an employer

Those left behind can also suffer from the loss of their workmates, become unmotivated, be worried about when the axe is going to fall on them and be less productive.

An often forgotten part of the equation is the managers who have to hand out the redundancy notices. Many managers report this has been a very difficult part of their job.

Advice to those retrenched / made redundant

  • It is natural to have feelings of resentment and dislike for the employer, and feelings of bitterness and even jealousy toward employees who have made the cut; you have to eventually move on.
  • After the initial grieving period use these emotions as motivation.
  • After a period of saying “why me”, turn it around and say “your loss”, it is amazing what a bit of fire in the belly can do.
  • Set long term goals but don’t be afraid to take a lesser role in the interim. Getting yourself back in the game can lead to unexpected opportunities.
  • Accept the fact and move on, if you find you cannot do this, it may be wise to seek professional help. Beyond Blue is one of many organisations that can provide assistance.
  • Do not blame yourself or others, do not take it personally
  • Do not take your anger into job interviews and generally check your baggage
  • Develop a plan on how you are going to manage your finances and gain employment again. Remember the 6P rule-Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance
  • Find out about and access free and subsidised training
  • Make the most of any outplacement services from your ex-employer
  • Discuss your situation with significant others
  • Do volunteer work while waiting for paid employment
  • Get some financial advice about managing your payout, develop a budget, you may need to discuss loan payments with your bank
  • Get some advice from Centrelink
  • Stay healthy, in particular take it easy on the grog
  • Get some career counselling
  • Network to expand your circle of contacts
  • Start your job search straightaway
  • Use it as an opportunity to further your skills
  • Get yourself a really good resume, a sideline of my business is preparing resumes and coaching others for job interviews, it never ceases to amaze me how poorly prepared the resumes that people bring to me are and generally how poorly prepared people are for job interviews. Your resume is a vitally important document. Analyse your strengths and boast about your achievements.
  • Given the frequency of this action in business it should no longer be an embarrassment to admit you were retrenched / made redundant
  • Be sensible in how you spend your payout amount
  • Catching up with others who were retrenched is a great way to vent but you have to move on, you must surround yourself with positive people.

General advice

  • Have huge but realistic goals.
  • Do the simplest thing that will work.
  • Ask for and give regular feedback.
  • Communicate your expectations.
  • Concentrate on the things that give the biggest bang for your buck.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. When you are out of your comfort zone you are already growing by default.
  • Persist until it pays off. Never give up.
  • Be conscious of “catastrophising”. Some people put undue weight on the bad aspects of their life and let that overcome the good aspects of their life. This makes it difficult to develop strategies to move forward.
  • Concentrate on the MUST DO’s.
  • It does not hurt to relax and do something silly occasionally, include your family
  • Celebrate success.
George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below