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Fairfax to farewell 1900 workers – and how to get redundancies right

Yesterday was a bad day for Australian journalists.

If you were hiding under a rock, you might not have heard that Fairfax will cut 1900 jobs over the next three years. You can almost hear the collective sigh as the Fairfax HR team gets started on their redundancy planning.

Redundancies can have some pretty unpleasant impacts – not just on the person involved, but on the workplace as a whole. They can unsettle morale, misshape your carefully crafted workplace culture, and occupy a lot of management time if they're not handled properly. And there's always the risk of an unfair dismissal claim if things really go awry.

So, how can you get it right? Here are some pointers:

• Consider all your options. Remember that it's the role that becomes redundant, not the employee. Have you looked at suitable alternative employment? Consider the employee's current pay, hours of work, seniority, skills and qualifications.

• Get the legal stuff right. Make sure you've checked your obligations and the employee's entitlements. Ensure you can demonstrate that your company genuinely does not require the job to be done anymore.

• Manage the communication carefully. Think about how you're going to deliver the news and who is most appropriate to do so. Make sure anyone communicating a redundancy is well prepared for likely reactions. Plan how you'll announce the redundancies to the rest of your organisation.

• Help the employee with their next step. Ease the employee's transition to a new role by offering assistance with job hunting or referring them to a career planning consultant.

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