Redundancy isn't the sort of news you expect to get by text message.
The major construction company Thiess has sent out text messages to staff working on a specific project to tell them that their services are no longer required. The message was factual, offering information updates, a contact email and phone number, and finish dates.
What were they thinking? Losing your job is a very emotional experience that demands far more sensitivity than a text message allows.
Redundancy carries with it so many levels of emotions, unique for each person. There is the obvious sense of “I’ve worked hard for them and they don’t want me any more”…and that hurts. That emotion occurs for most people, irrespective of whether they love or hate their job.
For most there is the worry about what will happen next. Will I find another suitable job? Will I have to move to get work, and what will that mean for my family? What if I never get another job that is paying the same money or using my skills?
It’s not always bad. For a few people, redundancy is welcomed as they were already thinking about moving on or retiring and the redundancy becomes a clean fast-tracking of the process, with an unexpected windfall. For others it becomes the catalyst to leave their comfort zone and try something new, even something exciting that they may not have tried if they had stayed in their job.
Each person who receives news that their position has been made redundant is an individual who deserves to be treated with respect, to be (even if it seems insincere at the time) reassured that their work has been valued and valuable to the company, and to be given the opportunity to talk through their future plans with a qualified and experienced career professional.
If you know that the company you work for is about to restructure, and talk of redundancies is swirling around your workplace, there are actions you can take to prepare yourself for the inevitable. By being properly prepared you give yourself the best possible chance of embracing this change and making it be a turning point that you look back on with pleasure not pain.
Hopefully other companies will learn from this major Theiss PR mistake and handle their redundancies with more empathy and tact than has been evident in this situation.