It has always been important to keep records for redundancy consultations, recording and transcribing these meetings can help you keep complete records of this process.
With the economic changes that have hit us in 2020, many businesses are having to make tough decisions for their future. As a result we are seeing a record number of businesses looking at a restructure and redundancies as a result. Having been through this process in past employment, we understand the stress this has not only on the business, but the members of staff too.
There are so many aspects to the consultation period and communication plays an important part. If you do not consult employees in a redundancy situation, any redundancies you make will almost certainly be unfair and you could be taken to an employment tribunal.
So it is vital that you keep complete records of the process, to help you provide the best support for your team and to meet the legal requirements of the process.
A consultation is when you talk with your employees and their representatives to explain your planned changes. This provides your employees the opportunity to give their feedback and input into the process. It is a consultation, so you must listen to their feedback and consider it in your proposal. Even within the current Covid-19 situation, you still need to hold a consultation with your employees. This does not have to be face-to-face, so it can be done remotely individually or with your team.
You must discuss the planned changes with any employee that will be affected by the changes. This can also include employees who are not losing their jobs. It is all about communication with your employees; it is very unsettling for a member of staff who is not affected to not know what is going on within their own team.
Holding a consultation
There are set rules when you are looking at 20 or more redundancies from your business. There are no set rules for a consultation for fewer than 20 redundancies. ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) ACAS.org.uk recommends that it is good practice to follow the same process, no matter how many redundancies you are making. You also need to consult with all employees of the company, which includes anyone on sick or maternity leave.
If you cannot prove to an employment tribunal that you have consulted an employee or an employee representative, they could accept a claim for unfair dismissal.
Planning for a consultation
It is important that you have the information ready that you need to share with your employees, which must also be given to them in writing in a digital or paper format. It is always a lot to take in when you find yourself sitting in a consultation meeting.
You must explain:
- Why you are making redundancies.
- The employees and positions that are at risk (an organisation chart is a good visual way to represent this information).
- How long the consultation period is, with the relevant dates and deadlines.
- What the selection process is, if they have the opportunity to apply other positions in the new structure.
- How you will calculate their redundancy pay.
You should also have a person attend the meeting that is trained in the redundancy process. This may be your own HR representative, or an external HR consultant depending on the positions that are up for redundancy.
Recording and transcribing your meetings
As we mentioned, communication is key when holding consultations. One way of making sure everything is documented throughout this process, is to record your consultations and meetings so you can provide information for your records. The transcriptions of the meetings should then be made available to the people that have attended those meetings.
By using a digital device, which can be as simple as using an app on your mobile phone. You can record the consultation meeting so you have a full record of all questions asked by your employees. By asking anyone who speaks to announce their name, with their questions you will know and have a record of who asked what. This can be much easier than having someone sitting in the corner of the room taking minutes, as conversations can move so fast.
Your digital audio files can then be transcribed by a professional transcription service, so that there is no bias in the transcription produced. This will also protect yourself and the employee further by having a third party provide this service for you. Digital audio transcriptions services are charged by the time it takes to transcribe them, with a quick turnaround and well-presented formatted document for your records.
To find out more about our Digital Audio Transcription Services, visit our services page.
Photo by Dan Farrell on Unsplash