Managing redundancy

Which of us hasn’t quietly consulted the Business Link website for information about making an employee redundant? Or read, with more than usual interest, the scheduled rise in the weekly limit for calculating statutory redundancy pay?

Fortunately, redundancies in dental practices are rare – but they are not unheard of.
Of course, the person affected suffers most, nobody would deny that, but the effect on the practice team can be considerable, too. As practice manager, you spend years building a tight-knit, effective team with complementary skills and a common sense of purpose.

At team meetings, you encourage broad involvement and engender a sense of ownership.
This all gets knocked aside when a valued and respected member of the team is ‘let go’ – as the euphemism has it. This is not a sacking for unacceptable behaviour, which may well be welcomed by the rest of the team, nor a departure for something positive such as marriage or promotion. Instead, you are obliging a person to leave – whether they wish to or not.

The correct procedures must be followed scrupulously – the person concerned should be treated fairly and their rights respected. Even so, there is still no avoiding that moment when it comes to ‘having a chat’.

Human resources people in large companies may get used to the awkward, but necessary, conversation – but how many practice managers have ever made someone redundant? Knowing that you’ve given it much thought, that you’ve consulted with your principal and taken all the advice you can does not make it easier. Against a background of rising unemployment and, given that you may be aware of the person’s personal circumstances, you will probably realise the life-changing move and difficult circumstances you are about to impose on them.

But if it has to be done, it has to be done. Practice managers can only comfort their consciences by the thought that the much heralded ‘green shoots of recovery’ will see them welcoming newcomers to the practice team in due.

For further information about the British Dental Practice Managers’ Association, visit

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