Should HR be more frank about lay-offs?

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In the land of buzzwords, many have said that 2012 was the year of ‘big data’ – but there was also something else dominating HR and employment news: redundancy.

Amid the seemingly ever-present economic turmoil, redundancies are the unpleasant fact of life that comes with the territory of employment.

In many cases, organisations are aware in advanced that redundancies are imminent, though internal considerations can delay the rollout, and in the interim new staff may even be taken on board.

Well-executed redundancies by an HR professional involves humanising what is a business necessity.

While at the beginning of most relationships – business or personal – it’s unlikely that you show all your cards at once, is it time for HR to be more upfront about organisational plans in the pre-employment stage?

Less than a month into the New Year, and redundancies are already back in the headlines. Qantas has called for voluntary redundancies among check-in and other ground staff at Sydney Airport's international terminal after the loss of a multimillion-dollar contract with Air New Zealand.

According to reports, the airline's management will meet with Australian Services Union (ASU) representatives to discuss the number of jobs likely to be culled, and at this stage both sides have said there will not be compulsory redundancies.

Qantas' contract to provide ground-handling services for Air New Zealand at airports including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth will end in March. The multimillion-dollar contract is one of Qantas' largest and includes checking in of passengers. Air New Zealand made a decision in November to contract a third party to handle its ground work.

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