Business Daily.
Business Mentor
A+ R A-

How to Choose Who to Make Redundant: A Tough Choice Made Easier

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already looked at your overhead and realised that some of your employees will have to be made redundant. So, how do you decide who to choose?

Being faced with the monumental task of making an employee redundant is always going to be stressful. You might have worked with these employees for a long time, built friendships with them, and know intimate details about their family situations and lives.

However, it’s important to remember that this is business, and making staff redundant is not personal.

In this post, we’re going to help you decide who you should make redundant in your business. We’ll tell you how to create a selection pool, how to select employees from that pool, and how to set up an appeals process in case you make the wrong decision. Take a look…

What is the First Step When Deciding Who to Make Redundant?

The first step to choosing which employees to make redundant is to create a selection pool of potential candidates. All you need to do is group employees based on broad criteria, so it’s easier to whittle them down later. These criteria might look something like:

  • Employees in a department that has too many staff members for the amount of work they receive.

  • Employees who perform the same or similar role to someone else and there’s no reason to have more than one person doing that job.

  • Employees with similar skills where one could cover the work of both employees.

  • Any specialist roles that are unique, as you might decide their entire role is no longer sufficient.

  • Any other genuine business reasons for adding an employee to your initial selection pool.

The decision on who to include in the redundancy selection pool is different for every business. For you, it’s likely obvious who needs to be in this pool dependent on the industry you work in.

If your company has a recognised trade union, you should look over any agreements you have with them about how to set up a selection pool and reasons by which you can make staff redundant.

How Do You Choose Which Employees to Make Redundant?

Now that you have a selection pool in place, you have to decide who to actually make redundant. Further criteria are required to whittle down the staff members you’ve placed into the pool which could include:

  • Standard of work: how well do they perform in their position?

  • Skills, qualifications or experience: do they have skills necessary to the business, are they qualified for their current role and is their level of experience difficult to acquire elsewhere or fill with another currently employed member of staff?

  • Attendance record: are they frequently absent for reasons not related to a disability, pregnancy or maternity leave?

  • Disciplinary record: has the staff member had trouble with other members of staff, have they been a disruption to the business before, what is their record for behaving the way an employee should in your business?

You should consider these criteria whilst looking over each individual employee to determine whether they are personally beneficial to your business, or at least less beneficial than another member of staff who fit these criteria more positively.

Don’t Discriminate

The above is the standard criteria you should use when deciding who to make redundant in your business. That said, there are others you could come up with, as long as you make sure they’re not discriminatory.

For example, you should not base your decision on who to make redundant on the following criteria:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Disability

  • Race

  • Religion or belief

  • Sexual orientation

  • Gender reassignment

  • Marriage or civil partnership status

  • Absence due to pregnancy or maternity leave

  • Their role as an employee or trade union rep

  • Whether their part-time or on a fixed-term contract

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, you shouldn’t select employees to make redundant because they’ve been advised by their doctor to stay at home as it might constitute as disability discrimination.

Setting Up a Scoring System

Once you have your criteria in place, you can create a score which makes it easier to choose which employees to make redundant. You could score your criteria from 1 to 5, with 1 being ‘fails to meet criteria’ and 5 being ‘exceeds expectations’.

Once you’ve done this for every employee in your selection pool, you will be able to make those with the lowest score overall redundant. By doing this, you will be more objective when selecting employees, can show the staff how the redundancy process works, and explain your decisions if you end up at an employment tribunal.

If one particular criteria is more important than others, you can choose to score them differently, with weight given to a criteria that’s more important to you as an employer.

You can also supply evidence for the score you’ve given so an employee doesn’t question why they have been given a lower score than someone else. For example, if the criteria is attendance, supply attendance records for each person next to their score.

If you’re still finding it difficult to select an employee to make redundant based on these scores alone, or if you have too many employees who are at a dead tie at the bottom, you could ask employees to reapply for their jobs and base your decisions on how they perform at interview.

Are There Any Other Measures to Put in Place Before Making Staff Redundant?

You’ve now created a selection pool, and have decided which employees to make redundant based on your scoring system, so what is there left to do?

In order to make sure you made the right employees redundant, it’s a good idea to set up an appeal process. This will allow any employees who feel they’ve been unfairly selected to voice their opinions and make their case.

An appeals process can also reduce the chances that someone will make a claim against you at an employment tribunal.

When you put forward your redundancy process, including the pool selection and scoring system, you should put in a process of appeal. This could be meeting with employees face to face to discuss their concerns or asking them to write an email or letter explaining why they disagree with your decision.

You might find, through this process, that you’ve made a grave error in making one person redundant, in which case you can apologise for the mistake and welcome them back to the team.

There’s always the chance you overlooked something important when making your decisions so it’s always a good idea to make sure the employee can have their say.

Will This Advice Make the Decision any Easier?

In this post, we’ve managed to cover all the processes you need in place to help you choose who to make redundant in your business. This included the selection pool process, the scoring system and the appeals process.

It’s never going to be easy to say goodbye to a valued member of your team, especially if you’re close to your staff and have formed an emotional bond. As we said in the intro to this post, when it comes to business you have to leave your personal attachments at the door.

Putting these systems in place allows you to take the emotion out of your decision and leave it up to cold, hard numbers and facts. It also allows you to show employees that it’s not personal, so good luck!

Business Daily Media