Tackling Job Redundancy

The job scenario today is paradox. On one end there are surplus of jobs but on the other end, executives are nervous due to the fear of job redundancy. Job redundancy is a typical situation which arises in corporations, where a particular job is no longer relevant to the enterprise. Jobs are made redundant when there is no need for a specialized skill/delineation of role or when the organization’s need, because of growth or downsizing requires a less or more qualified person. A lot of activities today are occurring around the, merger and acquisitions (M&A), So what happens during M&A is, some set of jobs overlap with each other like HR, Marketing, non-technical or commercial functions etc., some support function areas, at times even excess of sales manpower; that’s when some of the functionalities become redundant .

Redundancy could also happen as a result of introduction of new technology and change in working styles. For instance, the typical ‘personal secretary’ concept has been replaced by the ‘executive assistants’ phenomenon.

Newer ways of working or delivery have made certain profiles redundant. For instance, once railways decided to get away with ‘using mugs made of mud’ lead to huge job redundancy of that genre of laborers.

So what happens when a job gets redundant and how does the company treat its employees whose jobs get redundant? Most of the professional organizations are normally aware of future redundancies. They take it into consideration while training and retaining employees on newer / additional skills sets. However, Sometimes employees with less visibility about the future are caught unaware in a number of joint-ventures and takeovers, the pace of change is so fast that often both employees and employers are not able to calculate it well in advance.

At companies like TechSpan India, when skill needed for a particular project is over, employees are kept on the bench and are skilled for newer dexterities. However in smaller organizations this still hasn’t happened on larger scale.

Today in India in most companies with functions like payroll, administration, security etc being out sourced, related jobs are becoming redundant.

So when exit is inevitable, companies give the redundant employees minimum period of notice and also hires external recruitment agencies to do outplacement for redundant employees.

The impact on career is directly proportionate to the time it takes him/her to find another job and if the period between jobs is short, the impact is not much, but if it stretches out, then it can be quite traumatic. A prospective employer will always be influenced by the way the individual has handled the redundancy and the reasons for the redundancy.

Previous job redundancy will not create a negative impact as long as employees are open to learning and employers value their experience. Normally new employers do understand the past redundancy scenario of a prospective hire and it doesn’t create a negative feature on the employee’s profile. But definitely the new hire needs to convince the new employer on why he/she could not get retrained and absorbed by the pervious employer.

At the same time in some senses, if does reflect on the lack of farsightedness of the employee also, as most of the smart employees are always eager to take on role expansions and experience with different roles/functions.

In India the organized sector is just around 9%, the job redundancy is significantly low because the job market is very upbeat and there is a huge demand hence people can shift careers and still can manage well. However, at unorganized sector, which is over 91% it’s a big challenge.

Again, as employees are still not very comfortable and open to move out of comfort zones. Typically people below 40 are more open to change and hence redundancies do not hit them hard. However employees in the later age bracket are still not amenable to change. Employers are also willing to retain younger employees who are eager to learn and have the right attitude in the person.

A person’s job gets redundant, not because she/he incompetent; it is just because the organization couldn’t offer a role to his/her specific skill sets. So the solution is to be able to scale up to the changing environment and be perfectly well equipped to take up any job irrespective of such job redundancy scenarios.

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