How to Communicate Effectively About Redundancy

Topics: Firm, Lawyer, Late-2000s recession Pages: 2 (581 words) Published: May 25, 2013
How to communicate effectively about redundancy
When it comes to dealing with redundancies within a firm, internal communication is often neglected. But this should always be a priority, because it creates engagement, and engagement is crucial to productivity. During and after restructures, it becomes even more important. A redundancy round is an emotional time for the firm, both for the lawyers leaving and the lawyers staying. This is especially true if partners have to be let go, which is a bit like losing a member of the family. People need to be listened to and heard and this is especially true when they feel insecure or unsure. It is imperative to communicate clearly what is happening and when – when people are stressed, they find it harder to take in and retain information. ‘Survivors’ syndrome’, that results from a firm making redundancies, goes through four clear stages: relief about still having a job; guilt about still having a job, when others lost theirs; envy about the settlement that departing employees got; and resentment about having to do more work for no more money and that the firm got to the position where it had to make redundancies. Stress also increases, which has a negative impact on productivity and performance, just when firms need employees to raise their game. How people feel affects what they do. This simple fact is obvious, yet many law firms are not especially good at emotional intelligence and the soft skills necessary to engage employees. Failure to manage redundancy fairly and with clear communication will result in the loss of trust, which is hard to regain. Discretionary effort from employees, so important in normal times, is even more vital with fewer employees doing more work. The reputation of your brand will be damaged, and not only will talented employees leave but it will be harder to attract the new talent crucial to future growth. Tips to successfully navigate the downturn:

* Define a clear vision for the firm;...
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