Job Market Downturn – How to Reassure Employees?

Posted in : HR Updates on 1 February 2024
Charlotte Eakin
Think People
Issues covered: Job Market Downturn, Redundancies

Northern Ireland’s employment rates have returned to pre-pandemic levels of 72.4%, an increase from 67.9% during 2020.

Although, many high-profile redundancies in retail, tech and banking inevitably raises questions and concerns about the state of the job market.

However, other measures suggest the job market remains relatively strong and that the biggest challenge for employers is finding the right staff to successfully grow their business. NISRA’s latest Quarterly Employment Survey of market statistics are encouraging, with a near record low unemployment rate and plenty of employment opportunities.

HMRC data suggests typical monthly pay in Northern Ireland was 6.6% higher in April compared to last year.

How to reassure employees?

Understandably, employees may be fearful. There are typically 4,000 to 6,000 redundancies in Northern Ireland in any given quarter, the vast majority of people affected find alternative employment.

In a labour market where 3 quarters of local employers are actively recruiting, the risk of long spells of unemployment and ‘scarring effects’ are reduced.

In order to provide concise and supportive information to employees, the advice remains:

Time Frame – The quicker the concerns can be addressed; the more likely employees will feel at ease. By seeking credible sources and reading the information fully, the doubts can be confidently expressed e.g., “Reports are still coming in, but what we understand so far is…”

Communication – It should be prioritised to communicate frequently, even if there isn’t specific news to report. This ensures that employees feel actively involved in the issue, and provide tangible action items e.g., “Here are the steps we are taking.”

Appreciation and Empathy – Praise and appreciation of one’s work are cited as behaviours that make employees feel understood and proud. Affirmative behaviour validates co-workers during challenging times and provides support when fears of job security are high.

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This article is correct at 01/02/2024

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Charlotte Eakin
Think People

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