Several organisations have been left with little choice than to restructure and re-organise operations to adapt to the changing macro-environment and shifts in customer needs. The decision to restructure is never easy, often costly, and demands that leaders balance delicate decisions between protecting profitability, shareholders’ interests, market positioning, staff engagement, and future sustainability of the organisation.

Have you been impacted by a restructuring? Have you received the difficult news that your role is no longer needed therefore you are redundant in the new structure? How you receive the news is dependant on how satisfied and engaged you are with the organisation and your role. You may receive the news ecstatically or with shock, disappointment, and dismay.

Redundancy is never easy to deal with and redundancy in the uncertain times we are living in is even more difficult. If this is where you find yourself, here are a few tips to help navigate the change and position yourself for a brighter future.

  1. Know your rights

Understand your rights as an employee facing redundancy. Your rights and what you are eligible for are contained in the Labour Law that is easy to access, read, and understand.  The organisation should follow due process and if anything is unclear seek clarity from the HR department.

  1. Think through your next steps

You may feel too anxious to think through what the redundancy means for your career and the personal circumstances or the next steps; however, it is vitally important to do so. Some organisations will provide outplacement support and different services like financial planning, CV writing, and counselling. Take advantage of the offers and set yourself up positively for the transition.

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Use the transition time to work on your CV, research available opportunities, and engage your network. Be sure to research carefully and avoid making rushed decisions. Take time to think through what you want and how you would like to position yourself. This redundancy could be the golden opportunity to pursue a passion or interest that has been buried for a long time. Take the time to seek advice, reach out to professionals or industry contacts, and do some homework.

  1. Manage your finances

Depending on how long you have worked in the organisation and the redundancy package offered, you may receive a large sum of money as you leave. If available through the outplacement service, seek advise on how to manage the funds prudently; there is no telling when you will secure another job.

Should you want to pursue entrepreneurship, it is even more important you ensure a financial cushion to cater for basics including and not limited to food, rent, school fees, mortgage payments, etc. It may be prudent to adjust and simplify your lifestyle to stretch the available resources even further. Remember, this situation will not last forever. Know that there are coaches and online resources available that will provide quality advice and counsel in this regard.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings

Do not discount how you are feeling. The fear of worries and anxiety about what the future holds is normal. You may also experience feelings of disappointment, betrayal, and anger as you reflect on all the hard work and personal sacrifices you invested in the organisation. Some days you may wake up feeling overwhelmed with emotions and other times you will feel ok. These are all part of the process of accepting and adjusting to the change.

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Be sure to identify a safe and healthy avenue to express your emotions. You could speak to a trusted friend, family member or professional, exercise, journal, or another healthy outlet. Be careful how you express anger and avoid making negative remarks in the organisation that could result in strained relationships or burnt bridges.

Even though the decision may also feel personal, and you might not agree with how the decision was made, these are issues that are beyond your control. Handle what you can control which includes your emotions and how you express and process them. Do it in a way that favours you. Remember, the market is relatively small, and you never know if your employer will be called to provide a reference for your next job opportunity.

  1. Your identity

Your role may have come with significant perks or privileges that will not be available once you leave the organisation. You may wonder what others will think or how they will view you or relate to you after the transition out. Remind yourself that you are more than the perks and privileges that came with the job and they do not define you or your worth. This is a season and it will pass and give way to a new season.

  1. Your support system

The COVID period has taught us that those who have cultivated good relationships with their partners, children, parents, or friends have coped better with the season’s challenges than those who have poorer relations. start re-building relations and being intentional about connecting, engaging, and relating, it is never too late. It is critically important that we have people around us who we can turn to and lean on in difficult times to maintain mental health and overall sense of wellbeing.

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  1. Better yourself 

Use the time between jobs to brush up on your skills and knowledge. Pursue additional courses and qualifications that will improve your marketability. Go the extra step and put that knowledge to use and publish articles, insights, and make yourself visible.

Written By Nyawera Kibuka

Nyawera currently provides strategic leadership of Cedar Africa’s offerings and ensures quality service delivery. She is passionate about coaching and training individuals and organisations towards positive change. Successful transformation in every engagement is one of her greatest rewards.

If you would like to get in touch, you can email us on [email protected]

Change Management