By Sallina Jeffrey

Founder and CEO

Redundancies happen every day, if you have ever delivered one or experienced one, it can be a really challenging, stressful and sometimes demoralising experience. For the leader, it can be quite distressing as they have most likely had to work through the redundancy process for weeks prior or have had to come to the realisation that, from a financial perspective, a whole team may have to be let go. It is a complex and multifaceted process. It can be an emotional journey for the leader as they are still managing the employee like the future is still bright. Unfortunately, there are cases of a leader only making an employee redundant because they feel threatened for their job or feel they are being outshone by this employee and seek out reasons to make them redundant, this is a whole other topic, but if this drives a leaders decision, they should reconsider being a leader.

True leaders will surround themselves with people who are smarter than them

How a Redundancy 'Can' Play Out

The employee is called into a quiet room with possibly their direct leader and a Human Resources (HR) manager, both leaders looking serious and sometimes cold; the employee sits down and is told that they are being made redundant. HR will explain to the individual their rights and will most likely have their final payslip already drafted and deposited that day or in the next pay cycle. The employee most likely did not hear half of what they are saying, except the feeling of "we are rejecting you and you are on your own" The employee will process so many emotions within seconds, there is possibly even tears and or the employee tries to understand why, and it is normal for a human to feel a multitude of feelings. Then to make it even worse, the employee is walked to their desk to pack up their belongings, or the company packs it up for them and couriers the belongings to the employee. The employee is instantly instructed to give up their intellectual property including possibly a laptop and phone, anything that is owned by the company. Once the news is delivered to the employee, the leaders go back to their work and face the fall out of the remaining staff, including anger, hurt and the possible feeling that they could be next, redundancies can have a large impact on the culture; and can take a considerable amount of time to improve. Remember, although the leader has to deal with the fall out, they still hold their role and eventually, everyone moves on, yet everything for the redundant employee has changed and they have so much to process and work through.

Genuine redundancies, can be a traumatic and an emotional experience for everyone.

Ten Things an Employee Generally Goes Through Emotionally

1. Rejection – I am not good enough.

2. Shame – everyone in the organisation is going to know that I have been rejected.

3. Abandoned – The feeling of having the rug pulled from underneath them.

4. Family/Friends – How will I explain this to my family and friends.

5. Self-Worth – Am I good enough to get another job.

6. Trauma – A feeling of sudden change that cannot be controlled.

7. Failure – A feeling of loss; maybe it was me and not a financial decision.

8. Isolation – If you are the only one being made redundant, the feeling of being alone.

9. Uncertainty – what does the future hold?

10. Mental Health – A redundancy can impact an individual's mental health.

All these feelings are natural at a time of such uncertainty and shock. The next day can be even more challenging, as everyone else is going to work, the now ex-employee wakes up with nothing to get dressed for, and all that they were working on doesn't exist anymore. How a leader approaches redundancy can make a significant difference, it doesn't have to be as challenging for both the company and the employee.

There are so many ways that a redundancy can be carried out more empathetically, in order for both parties to move on with a mutual respect and the possibility to still hold a positive relationship.

Six Ways Redundancy Can Be Delivered More Empathetically

1. Trustif you have never questioned the integrity of this employee to date, why now would you treat them like a criminal and cut them off and walk them out.

2. Empathy – the employee has lost their source of income; they have financial commitments, possibly a family, you don't know their actual financial position.

3. Communication – be honest with the employee and tell them why they are being made redundant. Express the horrible process that you as a leader had to go through to come to the redundancy decision.

4. Compassion – are there processes you can put in place once the employee has left to make them feel supported? free counselling for six sessions, a short course to assist them with rewriting their resume and how to get back into the workforce when they are ready; maybe a career coach could be an option? Yes, they were made redundant for financial reasons, but it is a small investment to do the right thing by the employee. They don't have to be shut out; keep in mind all the late-night meetings this dedicated employee has given to your company and the time they could have spent with their family or friends.

5. Don't burn bridges – Business is built on relationships, and it is important to treat individuals with empathy; the business world is small, and you never know when one day you may be going for an interview and this employee that you are making redundant at this moment could be your boss in the future.


6. Finances – dependent on the time the employee has been with the company, they may have no holidays left or hardly any payout. Can it be an option to pay them out more than what you're legally obligated to pay out? Lessening the stress of how they will manage financially could make the transition easier for the employee.

To be clear is kind; to be unclear is unkind ~ Brene Brown

Authentic leaders genuinely care for their people; they don't turn away when the going gets tough; they face hard conversations head-on. To treat an employee in an empathetic and compassionate way when the employee is at their most vulnerable is admirable and sets great leaders apart.

Implementing a Mentoring Program is a proactive approach, it has been proven to improve cultures and poor performance.

Lastly, it is important to note that good work place planning, including having the right people on the bus in the right seat can remove the process of redundancy, redundancy sometimes cannot be avoided, however, it should be the last resort.

Looking to implement a Mentoring Program? contact TMM for a free demonstration

A genuine redundancy is a formal process and it should be discussed openly and transparently with the employee prior to any action, which is the correct process of redundancy. Refer to the Fair Work website for the legal process of redundancy.


Sallina is the founder of The Mentoring Movement (TMM), which provides a cloud-based mentoring platform to empower organisations to manage mentoring relationships effectively and efficiently. Mentoring can transform organisations through empowering individuals to be fully in control and immersed in their career goals and aspirations through personalised, structured and result-oriented experiences.

TMM evolved from Sallina, identifying that organisations struggled to improve engagement and their overall culture; they find it challenging to execute and successfully manage and measure their mentoring programs; TMM provides a solution to this challenge and is a key tool to improve organisational cultures overall.

Sallina has over 20 years of industry and leadership experience, has studied business and leadership throughout her career, is extremely passionate about improving the daily work lives of individuals to drive change in the workplace and contribute to an overall positive social impact on the world.

Sallina is also studying at the Australian Institute of Business for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to ensure she is equipped to help others at the highest level.


Stay connected. 


The ultimate guide to mentoring (Ebook Cover) (2).png

Thank you for Subscribing!