Sadly every year around this time we think our work in outplacement will quieten down. Surely companies won’t be forced to put people off so close to Christmas Day. Yet this is never actually the case. It seems sometimes tough decisions need to occur even during December.

Redundancy hits both individuals and HR particularly hard at this time of year. It is incredibly tough on both the people receiving the news that their role has been affected by redundancy so close to Christmas, and the HR Managers having to break such awful news.

Christmas brings additional financial pressure to most people’s budgets, but when the prospect of an unknown period of lost income coincides with the Christmas period, the stress can be crippling and cast a real shadow over normal celebrations. This is made worse by the fact that in Australia the job market is slower in many industries around this time, making immediate prospects look less promising.

Tips for Companies Affected by Redundancies at Christmas

It’s important that companies who are forced to make potential workforce changes during this period handle the issue of redundancies with extreme care and sensitivity.  If possible, significant thought should be put into determining the right time to break the news.

If the timing is unavoidable, it’s important ethically to provide adequate outplacement support that takes into consideration the additional time the unemployment period may extend to given the quiet job market in December and January. Ideally choose career transition programs that offer people the flexibility to put their program on hold during quiet periods if they choose.

It’s also vital each person is provided additional emotional support if possible including details of helpful organisations like Beyond Blue.  Equally significant is taking care of HR. Breaking news at this time of year can be highly stressful so HR professionals should ensure to take steps to look after themselves and manage their stress during this time.

Tips for Individuals Affected by Redundancy at Christmas

If you are affected by redundancy this December don’t be dismayed. Even now there are still good opportunities to be found if you take the right actions. People often underestimate what can be achieved over this period by using innovative job search approaches. In particular, this is a great time to connect with your networks. The holiday season is often a time when people get together so speak with your outplacement coach about how you can maximise these connection opportunities.

If you can, avoid the temptation to spend too much of your redundancy pay out on Christmas gifts, as this may bring additional pressure later.  Most importantly try not to let redundancy cloud your Christmas Day celebrations too much.  Christmas is about spending time with those we love not the size of the gift under the tree.

If you are struggling emotionally as a result of redundancy over this time, make sure to seek support from a health care professional or contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 44.