Two women sat at a desk in discussion

Whether this is the first time you’ve faced the threat of redundancy, or you’ve been through it before, you’re no doubt feeling a range of different emotions.

The immediate emotional impact that the threat of redundancy presents can also be exacerbated by other factors, such as challenges relating to seeking alternative employment while having to maintain your attendance in work with your current employer to fulfil the contractual requirements of your current role. The latter is a vital aspect to consider if you are subject to a consultation where a restructure is required and you’ll be partaking in a competitive recruitment process for a role with your existing employer.

In addition to the emotional and practical requirements relating the consultation process, you will also need to undertake tasks such as updating your CV, networking with prospective employers, or developing your interview techniques. You may also need to consider how you will manage your finances should you ultimately be made redundant.

Redundancy is one of the more stressful life events a person can encounter, and it’s important to recognise the support and resources that are available to help you through this period of change. retailTRUST offers a wide range of support to assist you to deal with the emotional, practical, vocational and financial challenges that you’re facing.

The emotional impact of redundancy

Most often the feelings experienced as a result of redundancy relate to a feeling of loss, but it’s likely that you’ll feel a range of emotions. Confusion, anger, fear, sadness, disbelief are common responses when coming to terms with being selected for redundancy, as are feelings of low self-confidence and self-doubt.

These feelings can often come and go throughout the redundancy process from the point where you first learn that your role is potentially being made redundant at a consultation meeting through to your last day of work. You might also have moments of excitement and optimism as potential new employment opportunities present themselves. This rollercoaster can feel very destabilising.

Consider a change of career direction

One positive that redundancy can present is the potential to use it as an opportunity to make a change to your career direction. Having the time to reflect on your own personal circumstances provides the space to think about other career options that you might like to consider, including possibly setting up your own business. Whatever you decide, it’s important to talk things through with your partner, friends and family to help you make the right choice for you.

Take time to reflect on your personal strengths and transferable skills that you have learnt during your time in employment. Skills such as customer service, merchandising, administration and people management are attributes that you will have developed over time and will be a valuable asset to any future employer regardless of which sector you go on to work in.

Click here to access guidance, tools and online courses to develop your skills.

Tips for coping

Looking after yourself is essential at this time. Redundancy takes its toll and can result in a number of issues which can affect our overall wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you manage things a bit better:

  • Self-care is an essential and important aspect at this time. The pressure of experiencing redundancy can affect us in a number of ways and can result in lost sleep, not eating properly, social isolation, relationship breakdowns, drinking more alcohol than we usually would, and poor self-image. It’s critical that you look after yourself and take care of your emotional and physical wellbeing at this time.
  • It’s natural to feel anger or betrayal but be careful not to express these feelings to colleagues even if you’re very close to them. Negativity spreads and only does harm. You also might find yourself working with the same people down the line (retail is a small sector) so set an example of being as neutral as you possibly can. If you’re dealing with negative people, consider what you can do to stay apart from their influence – the last thing you need is to feel worse than you already do. This is especially important if you are part of a larger redundancy where whole departments or store teams are affected equally. Negative thoughts which are perpetuated by other team members can be hugely damaging. They may result in you experiencing periods of self-doubt, ultimately impacting on your ability to perform well at interviews.
  • Remember that redundancy is not personal even if it feels like it at the time. It can help to talk to friends and family members who have been made redundant at some point in their careers. Remind yourself that it happens to people from all walks of life and is not reflection on you as a person, your abilities, or your value to your friends, your family, and the retail sector.
  • Your self-esteem might have taken a hit and this is entirely normal. Even those who usually have a healthy sense of their worth can struggle. Click here to access resources to help you improve your self-esteem.

Dealing with the practical side of redundancy

Managing the practical side of redundancy can present a number of issues that you might need to address. You might therefore find it helpful to check out these frequently asked questions on redundancy. They provide information about concerns such as:

  • Budgeting
  • Garden leave
  • Notice period
  • Settlement agreements.

Additional resources you may find helpful: