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How do I motivate someone I am making redundant?


Written by John Berry on 10th May 2017. Revised 10th November 2020.

2 min read

When you make someone redundant, you are breaching the psychological contract that exists between the firm and the employee. One of the key assumptions that an employee has (particularly when on a permanent contract) is that the employment will continue. And that assumption’s just been smashed.

All the ‘normal’ motivation theory about motivation coming from the job a person does goes out the window. And the manager has just destroyed the ‘normal’ leader/member exchange activities that allow them to influence the employee.

There are two possibilities:

  1. Motivating people who are to be made redundant is difficult and that is one reason why many firms put staff immediately on garden leave. It gets the redundant employee out of the firm and avoids poisoning those that will remain.

  2. For key staff that you can’t put on garden leave, resort to the economist’s motivator – money. Offer financial incentives to remain at the desk and achieve key objectives like handover before they leave. Otherwise offer solid help with outsourcing and job hunting. Be generous with time off. And let them go as fast as possible.

Contact us for more help from our consultants on motivating staff in their last few months or weeks with the firm.