Surviving the restructure - it's time to go

It's time to go

So casting your mind back… you've discovered that the company needs to shed some people. Your second reaction (after shock) is hope and relief, and something like "oh that’s great, I need a new challenge anyway and was/am thinking about leaving. Maybe this will work in my favour as well as the business". Nice one. So how do you navigate things from here to ensure you maximise your position, get everything you're entitled to and perhaps more?

To start with, make sure you commit to the process and be supportive of it - there will be the standard announcement, consultation, etc. Be careful not to shout out your thoughts about leaving as first you want to know exactly what is happening, and have thought about how you will approach it.

This is not the time to disassociate yourself with the company - it’s quite the opposite really. You should participate with clear and definite suggestions of how things could be improved – consider the way the business works and whether your role should be in the ‘firing line’? It may be the case that if you're not happy in your role it’s because either you have outgrown the role or the actual role itself doesn’t fit in well with the company’s direction and needs to be reworked.

Start gathering hand-over notes - capture your key activities and projects in your role (read our handover document outline). When it is clear that you will be leaving make a meeting with your manager to go through your hand over notes to map out who you need to share the information with and train. Doing this before you are asked is a great way to show how proactive you are and that you take initiative.

In the background, understand what entitlements you have legally, such as back-paid holiday pay, outstanding bonus, days in lieu, any redundancy money, and pull this together. Also, remember that your last day is your final working day, plus any leave you haven’t taken - so if there are holidays in between you will get paid for them. Check out the Government website for more information on redundancy pay.

Here’s the rub, when it comes time for the meeting, use what you're entitled to as your backstop, but do ask in your discussion if someone volunteered would they be viewed favourably? Suggest that 'if there will be voluntary redundancy then you may consider it’. I wouldn’t suggest stating that you want to leave straight away as you need to go through the processes first, and you could change your mind when you see how they are going to restructure the business.

When the redundancy announcement is confirmed for your area, this is your time to put your hand up. Let them know that you have thoroughly enjoyed your time at the business, but you are no longer the right fit for the new roles on offer and therefore, will take redundancy. Don’t speak negatively of the business but do outline the key things you have achieved that have made a difference and that you are happy leaving knowing that you made those changes. The hope here is that they will acknowledge this and if there are redundancy pay outs, you could have a chance of receiving one. It is possible that you will only get a redundancy pay out if you go through the process of applying for a new role. If this is the case, then make it clear in your interview why you are not the right person for the job i.e. your skill sets (even though they are great) are not in line with the new role and your career aspirations differ from what the role can offer.

Once it has been decided that you will be made redundant the most important thing becomes making sure you gain flexibility for your exit. You are unlikely to find work immediately, and probably want the luxury of staying for at least 6 - 8 weeks, even if it is part-time. The balancing act now starts as you endeavour to prove that you can go, but you're valuable enough to keep around for handover and support, plus someone has to do the work so it may as well be you!

Most importantly, whether you decide to stay or go it is crucial that you are professional throughout the whole process. If you do decide to go make sure you leave on good terms, as you never want to burn bridges - you want to leave on a good note, with people remembering you as the person who worked hard up until the last moment.