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To walk or not to walk a redundant employee

12 February 2015

redundancy 6

This is a very hard decision for some employers and HR managers to have to make when dealing with employees affected by redundancy.

When an employee's position is made redundant, it is the position that is made redundant not the person. Redundancy is one of the most difficult exits for both the employer and employee. I assist clients with these difficult decisions every day, and by far the hardest thing to decide is how to allow the employee to depart from your organisation with dignity but at the same time take a risk management approach to ensure that a very upset and possibly angry employee does not cause any damage on their way out the door to your IT, clients or business.

So an employer has to make the tough decision. Do you walk the employee immediately? Or do you allow them to work out their notice period or part of it? It is common for many employers to walk the employee on the day. This usually involves the employee packing up their stuff and saying goodbye almost immediately.

There is not one right way to exit employees whose positions become redundant. Remember the employee has usually not done anything wrong for their position to be no longer required. So if you are the boss,  be careful not to treat them like a criminal as you escort them out the door.  There is a degree of respect and compassion that needs to be displayed when exiting employees who were only a few minutes ago your co-worker or team member.

The walk or work decision depends on a number of factors including:

  • What is the likelihood or risk of the employee causing any damage to the team, clients, or business on the way out the door? Could they delete files, send out a damaging email to clients or staff?
  • How will your remaining employees react and feel about how you exit the employee?
  • If the employee is genuinely understanding and even welcoming of their fate then perhaps you can negotiate for them to work out their notice period and do a handover.


Lastly, remember that people are always concerned about 3 things when they see a workmate made redundant, what about me, what about me, what about me? Be sure to communicate to the rest of the team on the same day how the redundancy will impact on their jobs and provide reassurance if you can regarding their job security. 

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