Without doubt, consulting remotely is more challenging than face to face conversation. Whether it’s adjustments for disabled employees, poor WiFi connections or challenges with engagement, they all need to be considered in advance.
Here are our top tips to communicating and consulting through a redundancy process:
Make sure your first redundancy announcement is face to face – whether a video or group online meeting, it’s important everyone is told together about proposals for redundancies and they see you’re taking responsibility for your decisions.
Pre-empt technical issues – check the tech, ensure everyone has access to good WiFi, consider alternatives for those with tech challenges including in person meetings, more time for preparation and whether telephone calls would be better for some.
Companion challenges –it can be difficult to arrange a companion when everyone is attending the office so it’s an even greater challenge when individuals are working remotely. Think about how individuals at risk will make contact with their preferred companion, how they can discuss matters in advance of any meetings and where it proves too difficult, what support you can offer the individual with arranging their companion.
Creating a quiet space and time – personal challenges haven’t disappeared. Ensure that those with responsibilities at home are able to create time and space for a redundancy consultation meeting rather than multi-tasking.
Make time for absent employees – whether absence is due to furlough, ill health or family related leave, all employees must have been consulted with where they are at risk (and even if they’re not they’ll want to understand about major changes within your organisation).
Note meetings – while recording the meeting (with advance consent) is fine, our view is a recording can alter the tone of the meeting meaning managers are on edge and employees don’t communicate as they normally would. Having a note-taker is traditionally the route to a record of the meeting and still works well even if the meeting is remote
Get in touch if you need to discuss your remote consultation arrangements, or if you have any questions on what we’ve covered. In update #7 of this series we’re going to look at pooling employees appropriately.