Made redundant? Here's what to do next

Five steps to help employees move forward after redundancy.
Five steps to help employees move forward after redundancy. Photo credit: Getty.

Redundancy is rising in the wake of COVID-19, but staying positive and connected will help employees move forward more quickly, experts say.

Uncertainty and drops in spending are causing businesses to cut costs and close stores, resulting in thousands of job losses.  Ministry of Social Development (MSD) June figures show 6960 New Zealanders are receiving the COVID-19 income relief payment and 189,720 are receiving jobseeker support.

As wage subsidies come to an end, economists expect economic conditions to worsen and unemployment levels to rise. 

So how should you go about getting back in the game if you're laid-off? Recruitment and budgeting experts suggest five steps to help people move forward after a job loss.

1. Adopt a positive mindset

Christian Brown, general manager of Madison recruitment, said following redundancy, people typically experience a range of emotions in a short space of time.   

"It's normal to feel confused, sad or annoyed as it's an overwhelming process to go through - just remember that it's not your fault," Brown said.

Acceptance and a positive mindset are necessary to move forward.

"COVID19 has left many businesses in its wake...employers all over New Zealand are losing good staff. Your mindset is important: surround yourself with good people who can help you through it." 

2. Act quickly to cut costs

To reduce financial pressure, money mentalist and accountant Lynda Moore said a finance check should be at the top of the 'to-do' list.

"Act quickly to make sure your finances are under control and work out a timeline of how long your redundancy, any holiday pay and current savings will last," Moore said.

Add up all fixed living expenses, e.g. mortgage or rent, power, phone, food and transport. Divide existing savings (including final pay) by the total. To stretch out savings, Moore suggests reviewing utility costs (e.g. electricity and phone), cutting out takeaways and buying what's on special.  

People who have borrowed money should discuss repayment options with their lender before they run into trouble.

"Rather than a 'slash and burn' approach, reduce the amount or service level to bring costs down," Moore suggested.

People who lose their job due to COVID-19 between March 1 and October 30 could be entitled to the COVID-19 relief payment. Entitlement for benefits can be checked using the Ministry of Social Development online tool.

3. Review and reset

Ciao Chen a career coach at Life Potential, said that getting time off to review skills and direction can be valuable. 

"Having a clear understanding of our values, life purpose, interests, how we perform at our best and what light us up etc is [important] for finding a meaningful job," Chen said.

Look for opportunities to use and grow current skills.

"I see many people bring transferrable skills to a new career path: often there are people less qualified doing [what] we want to do simply because they believe in themselves and are willing to learn along the way."

4. Expand your network  

Staying in touch with existing contacts and making new connections, whether online, at events or through existing contacts can lead to new opportunties.

Online platforms such as SEEK, Trade Me and LinkedIn advertise new jobs and provide resources, templates and salary guides.

Jobs may also be advertised on company and industry websites.    

5. Be upfront with employers

Employers understand that due to COVID-19, businesses have had to let good people go. 

Brown advises people to understand the business reasons behind redundancy and to be upfront and honest at interviews.

"Explaining these reasons to the interviewer will demonstrate your commercial awareness and your ability to articulate business decisions. 

"Focus on the positive parts of the role, rather than [just] the fact you were made redundant," Brown said.

Researching potential employers and tailoring their CV and covering letter to the job will help people stand out from the crowd. 

"Practice some competency based questions (available online): these are bound to come up in interviews, you can never be too prepared," Brown said.

Talking to a recruitment agency about temp work could provide extra cash while looking for the right role.