Alternatives to Redundancy Reviewing the Options

Alternatives to Redundancy

It is not the first time markets have slowed down so businesses, both experienced and new, are finding themselves with a number of HR headaches. But before resorting to redundancy, which often means letting go of good staff, employers have a number of alternatives to redundancy that they should explore first.

Jane Caven, Director for Sagegreen HR Outsourcing, gives advice on a number of alternatives businesses should consider before resorting to redundancies.

“Making employees redundant is only undertaken as a last resort and can be almost as difficult for the employer and the employee, especially if this is something that the manager has never undertaken before. That’s why it’s vital to explore all options before embarking on a redundancy programme. Many employees would rather accept changes than total redundancy – and they will be well placed for when things pick up again, as they inevitably will.

First you need to have a clear idea of what savings you need to achieve and work out where you can make them, considering the following alternatives. You’ll then be able to consult with staff to see what will work best for your business.

Reduce the Working Week

Ask employees if they would consider working a four day or shorter working week. By reducing hours across the board, you may be able to make enough savings without having to drop head count.

Job security will become increasingly important and this way employees keep that security and their service records.

Reducing pay

Again, an across the board pay cut may save jobs – by everyone taking a small share of the pain, structures can be preserved.

Job sharing

Not suitable for all roles but some employees might welcome the concept of job sharing, which will reduce overall hours but ensure continuity.

Consider reducing overtime

Now might be the time to review overtime payments and reduce or eliminate this for salaried staff. Many employees are prepared to work long hours in order to preserve both their jobs and the business and this loyalty is very valuable.

Early retirement

You may have employees that are not far off retirement who might like to consider early retirement.

Suitable alternative work

This is something that you must look at – can you restructure the business by moving staff say from office based work to on the road revenue-generating work?

Sabbaticals and Extended leave

Some younger (or not so young!) employees might relish the thought of time off to pursue a dream for six months to a year, with the prospect of returning to you when things improve.

When you’ve been through these alternatives you’ll have a clear picture of what’s possible. Restructuring is never easy but keeping a positive frame of mind can open up new options.

Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this article, Sagegreen cannot be held responsible for any errors or missions; the notes are not intended as a substitute for legal advice.


Jane Caven is Director of Sagreen Consulting's highly successful HR Division. Jane has a strong track record in working with businesses to manage and develop their HR strategies. From handling day to day employment and workplace issues, to coaching and mentoring senior executives, Jane has enabled many business, from design consultancies to accountants to manufacturing businesses, to achieve more from their HR programmes. Jane's clients have won national Awards for the quality of their HR str...

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