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Speech to Surviving Employees Following Major Redundancies

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 3 Apr 2010 | comments*Discuss
Speech Speeches Business Redundant

One of the business speeches that is the most difficult to deliver is to make people redundant, but the effects on the survivors of such a move have to be considered too. Although redundancies are, of course, far worse for the people being made redundant, if the people left behind aren't looked after then the benefits of the redundancy move may not be delivered and it will all be in vain.

Management may expect redundancy survivors to be relieved and pleased to still have their jobs but the reality is often different. The business will now be run by surviving employees who will all have lost friends and colleagues and this can cause a lot of guilt. Many of the surviving employees will be wondering if it's their turn next or what kind of future they have, with fewer people around them to do all the work.

Speech Introduction

For a start it's probably not a good idea to try and deliver speeches in the immediate aftermath of making employees redundant. Staff and management will need to come to terms with what has happened and will probably resent the intrusion.

After a day or so you need to start laying the ground for the new streamlined company or business unit. And you must have plans for the future otherwise it's pointless making any speeches.

  • Start by expressing regret over the redundancy action.
  • Get over to the staff that this is a new start and that you are all in it together
  • Introduce the plans you are going to reveal in the speech

Example: We have all lost friends and colleagues over the last few days and we are all going to find the next few months difficult. To ease the transition we are all going to be involved in a project to analyse work patterns so that we can make work easier for everyone.

Outline Survival Plans

This is the meat of the speech. You need to let the surviving employees know that they are responsible for their own areas but that everyone is in it together.

  • Outline post-redundancy plans in detail
  • Deliver any information that might motivate staff
  • Set the ground for the next few months.

Example: Please take a look around at the work you're doing and the way you are doing it. With fewer people we will have to change things so that we can keep operating without working everyone into the ground. There are new orders coming in and if we can fulfil those then we should all be able to look to the future.

Concluding a Speech to Surviving Employees

Make the staff aware that they can look for help and guidance and that they are not alone.
  • Make it plain that there is an 'open door' policy
  • Encourage feedback, good or bad
  • End on an upbeat note

Example: I know that feelings will be running high and focusing on work will be difficult. I want to know if there's anything else that we can do to make these changes easier so I'll be happy to take feedback, good or bad. Together we can be successful again.

Not a Magic Solution

Note that a speech alone is not going to work miracles. If you are genuine about trying to improve a company after making redundancies then any speeches should be part of a planned initiative from the top down. This should be focusing on streamlining work, improving relationships and developing careers, making the surviving employees feel that they are valued.

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