Losing your job sucks. There, we said it. It’s not a fun topic to think about, but reality is there are many Kiwi’s experiencing job-loss as a result of COVID-19; and uncertainty still lingers for others as we try to kickstart the economy following lockdown and border restrictions.

All the well-intentioned advice in the world is not going to solve the situation. But what we can do is offer some practical tips on how to go through a redundancy process and come out the other side with your sanity intact!

First things first, know your rights:
The good news is that an employer can’t suddenly decide to make your role redundant. There are clearly defined steps that must be followed first, including a procedurally fair process.

You must:

  • Be provided with relevant information about the proposed restructure and redundancy process
  • Be allowed a reasonable amount of time to give your feedback
  • Be allowed time to seek independent advice
  • Be provided with a genuine reason for redundancy
  • Be considered for redeployment to other positions within the organisation where applicable

Most employment contracts contain a redundancy clause which sets out what will happen if an employee’s job is no longer needed after a restructuring and what the employee might get as compensation.

My role has been made redundant, now what?
The prospect of a job-loss can hit home in two crucial areas: emotional and financial wellbeing. Both are essential to our quality of life, so it’s no wonder that facing redundancy can have a dramatic effect on our overall wellbeing. Thankfully there is support available to help you through:

Emotional Support:
The golden rule of going through a redundancy process is to keep reminding yourself that it was the job that was made redundant, not you.

Finding yourself out of work can knock your confidence. It’s important to take the time to breathe, come to terms with the situation and use the opportunity to reassess what you want out of your career. It’s okay to experience a whirlwind of emotions. Anger, shock, fear, rejection, surprise, dismay, whatever the case may be, please know that it’s completely normal to feel this way. Talking to your family and friends can be a good start, but if that’s not an option, or you need more support, seek professional advice and help. We’ve provided some links at the bottom to get you started.

There’s no longer the stigma that used to be attached to redundancy. The job market is a lot more fluid than it once was, with many companies having to restructure as they keep up with modern demand. Throw a pandemic into the mix and it’s easy to see why redundancy is a trending topic. When speaking with a prospective employer or recruiter, expect some questions around the reason for leaving your last role and be prepared to give a summary of what happened. Regardless of the circumstances, always try to frame it in a positive light. Attitude is a big factor in hiring, so be careful about letting the negative experience of redundancy taint your conversations. This is a golden opportunity to demonstrate your tenacity and positivity even when the going gets tough.

Financial Support:
Understandably, money plays a big part in the stress felt by those experiencing redundancy. The loss of financial security can be devastating, but it’s good to know that there’s support available to those struggling as a result.

While a disruption to your income is never ideal, now is a good time to look at your budget. Sorted.org have some handy tools to help you plan ahead.

Work and Income NZ offer a variety of support depending on your situation. You may have also seen the recent announcement around additional financial support for those that have lost their jobs as a direct result of COVID-19.

So where to from here?

Re-train or up-skill yourself: There’s lots of free courses available through the likes of Southern Institute of Technology or the Open Polytechnic. Depending on your situation, you may even be eligible for fees free study elsewhere. If you have a bit more time on your hands than usual, why not make the most of it!

Consider your next move: Losing your job can be a good time to reflect on your career and whether there are any other avenues that you want to explore. Take a look at our handy guide on figuring out your next career move here.

Update your CV: This one’s a no brainer. It’s a good time to do a refresh of your CV so that you can present yourself to new employers in the best light possible. Professional help is available for a fee, but there are also lots of great style guides and templates available online. We have our own resources for you to use as well.

Talk to a Career Coach: If you’re feeling a bit stuck about what to do next, speaking to a career coach could be a good way to get the ball moving again. There’s lots of people in New Zealand who make it their business to help others find their niche. Check out the Career Counsellors Association website to find a Career Coach in your area.

Take the support offered: If your employer has offered additional support as part of the redundancy process, take it! Also make sure to ask your manager for their permission to use them as a referee going forwards and get their contact details.

Take a break: It’s not often that you’re suddenly given unexpected time off. If you have the flexibility financially, consider using this time to recharge your batteries and take that long-needed holiday or work through your to-do list at home.

Contact Recruiters: You don’t have to tackle your job search alone. Do some research and get in touch with recruiters that specialise in your field. The best approach is to send them a copy of your CV and outline what you’re looking for. Try to give as much detail as possible around salary expectations, availability and what areas of work you’re interested in. The more a recruiter knows about what you want, the more likely they’ll be able to keep you in mind for the right opportunities. If your confidence has taken a bit of a knock thanks to redundancy, a recruiter can help you better prepare for interviews too.

We’re always here to support your job search, so if you’re on the look-out, get in touch with our team today.

Good luck,
Kirsty and Nikki

Support Links:
Depression.org
Skylight Trust
EAP Services
Talking Works
Further information for employees around COVID-19 and changes to employment can be found here.

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