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How do I stay impartial when selecting people for redundancy?

(11 Posts)
Strawberrycider Fri 09-Oct-09 22:36:47

I have name changed for this because I'm ultra-paranoid!

One out of two of my team members is to be made redundant and although I don't have to make the final decision, I have been asked for my input as their line manager.

I have never done anything like this before, so I don't really know what criteria I'm allowed to use to make my judgement, other than "it's about the role, not the person"

If one person is clearly dedicated, works hard and willingly helps out others, while another has already gone through disciplinary proceedings for various issues (and says she hates the job but isn't willing to be the one to volunteer for redundancy), can I let this influence me?

pushmepullyou Fri 09-Oct-09 22:50:00

It's really difficult isn't it. I have had the same situation in my team this year. I think that you can't technically let personality issues influence you if it is about making the role redundant rather than the person, but I struggled as it was blatently unfair for one of the two of my team to be made redundant when the other one was less satisfactory in every way.

I would have thought if there are competence issues with one person then that role is less adequately filled and therefore less required, but am not an employment expert so can't guarantee that's right. In the end we got round it because the person that was less able has been there for a shorter period of time and they were technically in different roles. Otherwise I think the main option would have been for us to place them both in a pool for a single job and score them against various criteria and essentially choose the best person for the job. I think this is how the national/multinationals in my field work

WickedWench Fri 09-Oct-09 22:55:00

Well I guess you are being asked to identify the best person to fill the role, no matter what spin they put on it. It seems most unfair that they are not being clearer about the criteria they are looking for.

From your description of the two candidates it is clear to me which one I would choose to be made redundant. It's a bit of a no brainer really, why would anybody choose the difficult one over the dedicated hard worker, but without knowing whether there are issues around length of time in post or seniority it's difficult to say whether they are leading you into difficult waters where perhaps they can point to you as being the decision maker. I think you probably need more info on the redundancy criteria and the input from an HR expert like Flowerybeanbag.

I'm just a manager but it maybe worth looking at it from a different angle. If you could only promote one of them which one would it be? If you can clearly articulate why one candidate is better/more effective/more efficient than the other then I suggest that person is the one you should keep.

JustAnotherManicMummy Fri 09-Oct-09 23:06:36

You need to look at this as dispassionately as possible.

When doing their appraisals you should be regularly assessing their performance against their agreed job description, targets and other appraisal criteria you have (eg capability management).

So you need to look at their appraisal grades for the last year or so. If one of them has disciplaries upheld against them then I would expect them to have unsatisfactory appraisals.

From what you've said this should be easy. Someone who's doing the job and doing it well, vs someone who has a bad attitude and has disiplinaries upheld (am assuming they've been uphelp... if not then you can't use those as reasons).

I suspect there are reasons this person is not taking voluntary redundancy. Not least because they would be unable to claim on any unemployment cover and would, I would think, affect any benefit claims too.

Given the choice between taking voluntary or forced redundancy I, personally from a financial point of view, would be better off with the latter.


WickedWench Fri 09-Oct-09 23:20:44

JAMM has put it far better than I did. I blame wine of the red variety.

But yes, voluntary redundancy can have a huge impact on all kinds of things such as benefits, insurance and the redundancy payout itself. I would hold out for compulsary redundancy if I was ever in that position. I'd never, ever volunteer for redundancy even if I realised I was Lady McWorstEmployee of the WorstEmployeesinChristendom.

Unless there is some criteria you haven't mentioned I can't see how you could justify keeping the employee who has had disciplinary issues over the one who hasn't. As JAMM said, surely the appraisals should be the basis of your assessment as they should be about overall performance.

ilovemydogandmrobama Fri 09-Oct-09 23:37:23

Could you grab their job descriptions and base it off the functions alone? For instance what functions are duplicated/similar that could be done elsewhere or not at all?

Difficult not to get into personalities, but try to keep in mind that it's the job being made redundant and not the person, so if you have to justify it at a later stage, it will be more objective vice subjective....

But check to see what the policy is, as some companies select on the basis of, 'first in, first out...'

Lastly, may I suggest that you keep notes of how you reached your decision in case it's challenged?

RibenaBerry Sat 10-Oct-09 08:58:55

Haven't you been given a matrix? Normally HR would provide you with a list of factors (e.g. disciplinary history, appraisal rating, qualifications, etc) and ask you to fill in a rating for each one (e.g. a mark between one and five). It's then clear what you can and cannot take into account.

Strawberrycider Sun 11-Oct-09 10:41:28

Thank you all for your comments - they have helped a lot. I hadn't realised there were implications to volunteering for redundancy.

WickedWench - thinking about which one I'd promote has particularly helped! - thanks for the suggestion.

I will also make sure I ask my boss for more guidance - the HR department at work is often less than helpful...

fridayschild Sun 11-Oct-09 11:54:55

I had to complete the assessment forms for some redundancies last year, and it was awful so my sympathy for you. I was given a matrix, but not much help from HR to be honest. Flowery and others here were a big help.

For instance, part of the criteria was how good each person was at the job. My other managers and I took the view that we would weight bringing in new business and keeping clients happy as more important than some of the other parts of the job description. If someone had had specific praise from a client, or done something which showed an attempt to bring in more work, that meant they got a higher score for that section.

The tricky bit was then not double-counting - if someone had praise from one client that could only count in one part of the form.

Once I had done each form I went through every one with one of the other managers and someone from HR, trying to tear my analysis apart to make sure I had been fair and not forgotten anything that would count for or against people.

I'm not sure about whether telling you she hates the job is something you can put down - hearsay. But evidence of her approach to work is relevant, such as lower scores for team work, poor timekeeping, complaints or issues about the standard of work.

As others have said, even if both can do the job to the required standard, what you are doing now is to see which of the two is better. You need to do the best you can to get the company in good shape for the future, to safeguard the jobs of those who will be left.

flowerybeanbag Sun 11-Oct-09 18:51:29

You need some criteria, it's really really important, I can't emphasise it enough.

Clearly set-out criteria that you can 'score' or that are easily measurable will give you the confidence that you are making the right decision.

People react much better in redundancy situations the more information they have got as a rule. If they have something tangible they can see as giving the reasons for any decisions made they will feel less unhappy during the process which is always unsettling anyway, and are less likely to feel aggrieved at the result.

And as far as the bottom line goes for your employer, clearly set out criteria that have been 'marked' or 'scored' giving reasons that are as objective and measurable as possible for redundancy decisions drastically reduces a) the chance of any decision being challenged and b) the chance of any such challenge being successful.

Speak to your boss about the process that is being used for this redundancy so that you are fully informed. If there are no criteria at present, ask HR or ask your boss to ask HR for assistance in producing some.

If no one will help you with criteria, propose some yourself. It's in everyone's interest to do so. Commonly selection criteria for redundancy might be a combination of performance (looking at appraisals or other evidence of performance), disciplinary record, attendance record and skills/experience offered by the individuals concerned. If no one will either give you some criteria or help you with them, draw up something basic yourself, ideally with your boss, then put it forward to HR or whoever is relevant saying that you propose to use this to assist you in giving your input into the decision, can they confirm that they are happy with that.

Strawberrycider Thu 15-Oct-09 16:52:13

thanks Flowerybeanbag - that was really helpful. I have followed your advice and managed to come up with my recommendation and back it up with plenty of evidence.

Just have to wait for the boss to make the decision now - really feel for both of them with this hanging over their heads.

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