What can we learn from Telstra’s job cuts?

Redundancies are all too common - it’s one of those unfortunate truths that, sometimes, organisations need to cut jobs in order to restructure and survive in the future. Everyone knows this of course, but it doesn’t make it any easier to compute if it ever happens to you. Going through redundancy has even been compared to the experience of bereavement - it can have that much impact on the lives of those affected.

The whole redundancy process is something that 8,000 people will be experiencing after their jobs are cut by Telstra. In his announcement, CEO Andrew Penn said that the cuts were all in the name of “creating a new Telstra that is able to continue to lead the market”. With a workforce of just over 32,000 employees, this cut means that Telstra is saying goodbye to about a quarter of their workers - it’s a huge restructure and one that will be felt keenly all over Australia.

What kind of support is being provided?

Also in the announcement, Andrew Penn mentioned that initial funding of $50 million would be available to provide programs for both the leaving employees and those who remained. For those who are being made redundant, A Transitions Program was specified to provide enhanced outplacement support. For those who remain behind, Telstra says they are committed to providing support so that they can upskill and transition into new ways of working.

This kind of support is paramount to making sure that the whole process of redundancy doesn’t just leave carnage in its wake.

The potential impact of redundancy

Naturally, when an employee is made redundant, they can find it difficult to wrap their head around their new situation. It’s a time that is overwhelming and any people find themselves having to make a lot of big, practical decisions while they’re feeling vulnerable. In particular there are four areas in which individuals can feel the effects of redundancy:

  • Fear for the future - what will happen next? Often this fear will be related to the next immediate steps but the fear can also be projected over months or years.
  • Sense of loss - redundancy is more than just losing a job. An individual will lose their source of income, their colleagues, their daily routine and perhaps their direction in life.
  • Financial insecurity - naturally, one of the most practical impacts is the loss of income and it’s one of the most immediate concerns for most redundant employees.
  • Relationship strains - redundancy can cause there to be more strain in relationships and can cause some individuals to withdraw from their friends and family.

Of course, not all of these things can be fixed immediately but it is the responsibility of the employer to do all they can to lessen the effects of redundancy to ensure that these effects do not stretch out for any longer than they need to.

This is why programs just like those that Telstra has committed to carrying out are so important - it provides support for employees as they head into a stage of life than can be extremely overwhelming. It’s all about making the best of a bad situation and giving employees the best chance they can have of finding a new career opportunity.

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