Many people think that only larger organisations have to deal with redundancy or the uncomfortable issues of laying off staff. However, this is also an issue for small and medium size businesses. Being smaller does not make this any less uncomfortable or any easier.
The issue may some times be greater because small businesses may not have the where-with-all in the area of experience, finance or human resource staff who are more of the experts, to deal with this properly. This in itself may cause problems for all concern now or at a slightly later date.
Employment law makes no distinctions with regard to the size of the business and if managers or business owners get it wrong it could be a very expensive mistake in deed.
Many owner managers of SMEs feel that as they are smaller, they do not have to make themselves aware of what their responsibilities are under the law and that not knowing about this will exempt them. Still others feel that because they are a smaller business current or even ex-employees will not pursue bad practice or unfair treatment, but in this economic climate, as in any other, this is far from the truth. Disperate times can make people in difficulty pursue lines of redress more furvently than they may have previously. An incentive to do this may be the promise or possibility of monitary gain at the end.
I have known of situations where the employees were far more aware of the their rights under the law than some owner managers were, and this in itself is quite alarming. Unions may have lost some of their bite over the past couple decades or so, but the rights of employees are more clearly laid out, better and more than they used to be.
The thing that may make a person insist on their rights or entitlements may be more about the process or the principle than the result. In other words, people may not be happy about being laid off, but how the process is managed may cause more resentment than the actual result - being laid off.
It is human nature to reflect upon the number of loyal years or months of good service given, in comparison to how one may feel one is being treated - Looking in the mind of the employee loosing his or her job, after the initial shock has hit home.
It is important that whether or not yours is a small to medium size or a larger business, that you get support and advice on how to deal with laying staff off, as soon as there is even the smallest inkling that you may have to resort to this option.
This is not as expensive as it used to be and human resources or people development specialist can offer a range of change management strategies to help manage this process easily and where possible as painless as possible.
As my elders would say, you never know what life is going to bring your way. If you fail to treat someone with respect now, it may be that same person who you find facing you years down the road, when you are in need of help. Life has a strange way of engineering itself.
Another side of this coin is that as things pick up economically, you may well need to re-employ these same people. Treat them with respect and as much care as is possible and practical in the circumstance. The old golden rule is still good even in these days.
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