The Great Retrenchment – What should employees and HR do during retrenchment
2021 was the year of great resignation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 2023 seems to be the year of the great retrenchment. Many tech firms such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Salesforce have announced job cuts recently.
Retrenchment, also known as downsizing or layoff, is a difficult process for both the employees who are being let go and the HR team that has to manage the process. It can be a stressful and uncertain time for everyone involved, but there are steps that both employees and HR can take to make the process as smooth as possible.
For employees, the first step is to try to stay calm and composed. This is a difficult time, and it is natural to feel upset or even angry, but it is important to try not to let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, try to focus on finding ways to move forward and explore other opportunities.
If you are being retrenched, it is also a good idea to ask for an explanation for the layoff. This can help you understand the reasons for the retrenchment and whether it is related to your performance or something else. It may also be helpful to find out what your rights and entitlements are, such as severance pay, unemployment insurance, and any other benefits you may be entitled to.
One of the most important things you can do during the retrenchment process is to try to keep in touch with your former colleagues and the HR team. This can help you stay informed about potential job openings or other opportunities that may become available. It can also be a good way to maintain a network of professional contacts that you can rely on in the future.
For HR, managing the retrenchment process can be a challenging task. It is important to communicate clearly with employees about the process and explain the reasons for the layoff. This can help to reduce uncertainty and ease some of the stress that employees may be feeling.
HR should also offer support to employees during this difficult time. This may include providing outplacement services, such as resume writing and job search assistance, or offering counselling services to help employees cope with the stress and uncertainty of the situation.
It is also important for HR to follow all applicable laws and regulations related to retrenchment, including those related to severance pay and notice periods. This can help to ensure that the process is fair and that employees are treated with respect and dignity.
Finally, HR should be prepared for the possibility of legal action from employees who feel that they have been unfairly treated during the retrenchment process. This may include claims of wrongful termination or discrimination. By following best practices and being transparent and fair throughout the process, HR can help to minimize the risk of legal action and ensure that the retrenchment process is handled as smoothly as possible.
Overall, retrenchment is a difficult process for everyone involved. By following these guidelines, both employees and HR can work together to navigate the challenges and find ways to move forward in a positive and productive way.