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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When declared redundant

When declared redundant

Words by Francis Kahihu

kahihucareers@gmail.com

Anyone can be declared redundant at work. This results from various factors and it can affect just anyone at work. As employers restructure their operations to capitalize on the human resource available, they consider several issues in determining the number of staff they must have to do what they require done. Three of the reasons that lead to the declaration of redundancy among staff include reduced profitability, technological advancement and change in an organization’s strategic direction.

As competition heightens in the various sectors, employers have to consider the value that each of the employees is bringing to the table. Reduced profitability means that the employer can only keep the most essential staff hence seeking to reduce from the payroll those employees they feel can be sacrificed without compromising the quality of the services and goods to clients. This is done bearing in mind that the increasing wage bill eats significantly into the profit margin.

Technological advancement is the other common cause of redundancy declarations at work. With the growth in the ICT sector for instance, we must appreciate the fact that most of the work that used to be done manually has now been computerized. In most offices, the process of computerizing services has gained momentum. Filing and retrieval has now been left to one individual at the touch of a button hence no more need for tens of workers going through the physical files to serve a client. This has increased efficiency and effectiveness hence every employer seeks for this as the most profitable route to take. In this case, all employees whose tasks have been taken up by machines and other technological infrastructure are declared redundant since what they used to do has now been taken up.

The third important reason why companies make declarations of redundancy results from change of strategic directions. Every time a company develops a strategic plan, it is common practice to have key strategic changes that the company seeks to pursue. This comes with a redefinition of the characteristics of the personnel it requires to implement the strategy. By extension, this leads to an audit of the skills and competencies resident in the company as it seeks to consider how applicable the available human resource will be in the achievement of the strategic goals.

Realizing that various factors can be considered in making one redundant, it is helpful to always consider our competencies and other factors as we seek to make ourselves relevant at almost all times. In the past, the trend was that once employed, employees knew they were in it for life. People stopped processes of professional development since they had already landed the plum, permanent and pensionable jobs and were ready to take the long awaited break from job search struggles.

Experiences have however made people realize the need for continuous professional development. As you interact with your employer, be keen to discern the direction the employer may be taking the next couple of years and start early preparations to remain relevant in the new face of the organization. Most of the strategic direction decisions are usually communicated in staff meetings well in advance and it calls for the discerning to tell of potential changes in the organizational structures. This calls for alertness in all engagements with the employer, including reading between lines during performance appraisals and studying the annual reports.

Advancement in technology has been a key factor in the redundancy declarations. Apparently, many people remain technologically incompetent hence presenting themselves for the axe should the opportunity arise. As more techno savvy young graduates join the job market, it is advisable to pursue growth as a matter of urgency since it you don’t, your current tasks would easily be handed over to a more efficient and effective worker. Remember that all the employer wants are results and if he can get the same results quicker and better, there is absolutely no reason why you should be retained when deemed more of a liability than an asset. Enhance your capacity to secure your future.

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