Almost every day brings new experiences at the moment. Except, of course, the sensation of getting shortlisted for something. But yesterday was a particularly exciting day as I appeared (virtually – if that makes sense) as a panelist on The Guardian’s Local Government Network Live Q&A. The topic was redundancy.
In was a sobering experience in many ways. Suddenly you could see the faces of real people picked out from the crowd of public sector workers facing redundancy. Each with their own story.
There were questions about how to put together a CV. Or use social media effectively. Or whether consultancy may be an answer.
There were technical questions too about the mechanics of redundancy and TUPE. And also how to take of yourself through the emotional turmoil of the redundancy journey.
But the stories that stayed with me were ones like that of @alicksboots feeling vulnerable and worried after 31 years of public service as their employer tries to reduce its headcount by 500 out of 8000.
Then there was @kathmr ‘at risk’ and facing the possibility of being made redundant after 26 years with only the statutory minimum of redundancy pay. Forcing them to think about selling up and radically change their life.
@mrswells got in touch. She has been given her notice while away on maternity and was struggling to get information about her entitlements from her boss.
It’s clear that different organisations have radically different approaches to the support they will provide. Some questioners had got virtually nothing. Others felt much more supported.
I’ve made the point before (as have others like @FlipChartFT) that the rebalancing of the economy that the government is pursuing is a huge HR project for UK Plc. If there is to be a successful shift of workers from public to private spheres it seems to me that providing an adequate level of support at the start of the journey would be sensible.
You can chose to do it now with people still in work or you can wait until they’re redundant and try it. Everything I have seen about making this sort of transition tells me that it’s more likely to be successful when attempted from a position of being employed.
The other thing that struck me was the quality and availability of excellent free resources to help anyone facing redundancy. My expert colleague panelists pointed us all in the direction of some excellent help and folks logging in did the same. There was a real community feel to all of this. A sense that we really are all in this together.
Some specific sources of support that I will put up links too included:
- a free CV advice service from Direct Gov: upload your CV and you will get specialist feedback from an advisor;
- a pointer towards the Business Link service where you can get help if you are thinking of setting up your own business; and,
- links to organisations like Maternity Action and Working Families which can provide independent advice.
I think the scariest thing I learned was this.
The CV you spend hours (if not days) honing, tweaking and burnishing gets 30 seconds of attention at the most before it reaches the bin or the next stage of the recruitment process.
That’s less time than it took you to reach here in this blog post.
Yes, it scared me too.
Time to get honing.