Way to go

Way to goAs TheLawyer.com reveals today, the number of jobs likely to be cut from the UK 200 law firms has now passed 1000. But there are almost as many ways of going about making redundancies as there are law firms. Today’s post examines the most popular.

The redundancy consultation plus. Redundancy legislation introduced after the previous economic downturn allows for a clear process in which employer and employee needs are intended to be balanced (details)

Although the statutory minimum payout is paltry, some firms, such as Addleshaw Goddard, have offered enhanced packages.

While others shell out on outplacement services, Wragge & Co, for example, has transformed its recruitment team into an outplacement team and is confident that it can find jobs for the majority of those 20 affected.

The redundancy consultation that isn’t a redundancy consultation. There’s plenty of talk of major firms that are using performance appraisals to get rid of certain jobs and thereby cut costs.

It’s a piece of poor foresight in which management incompetence and/or dire market conditions are recast as the failings of the individual concerned.

The senior partners presumably think that they can avoid bad publicity, while saving a few bob on redundancy payouts and outplacement services for those that have been around for a while.

Wrong and wrong.

Fudging the facts so that the situation for former employees in a tough job market is made even harder is downright cynical.

(Not only that, but any money saved in the short-term will be lost when the claims for unfair dismissal start flooding in. Watch this space).

Redundancy consultation lite. One silver circle firm has reportedly been calling people into a room and telling them that they can do this the easy way (go now with more money) or the hard way (hang on and get a pittance).

And while outplacement has become de rigeur at Memery Crystal just one out of 16 was offered help finding alternative jobs.

The redundancy consultation that hath no end. While it is important that due process is followed, if it goes on for too long it can generate a climate of fear and resentment and is hard for staff to move on. See, for example, the impassioned posts about Eversheds

Interestingly, the dissatisfaction even runs quite high up in the firm. One senior manager there told me recently: “I would want to do it more quickly. You just want to get to a conclusion, the process goes on in quite a formulaic way.”

The redundancy consultation to end all redundancy consultations. Ok, so one way of dealing with that climate of fear is to reassure employees that there won’t be any future job cuts of this scale.

Stand up Hammonds’ managing partner Peter Crossley, who recently said that the current consultation with 95 staff is a “one-off” (see story). Words he may or may not come to regret.