Consultation process Case study


This SME business has its head office in South East England and a second office in Scotland. This second office had 20 staff, including some based in a “satellite” office, 200 miles away. With insufficient business being generated in the second office, it faced closure with the likelihood of most roles being redundant and the possibility of some staff being re-located for other work; it was appropriate to undertake a consultation process. Key issues were:

  • Identifying which roles remained elsewhere within the business
  • Who would be able to fill these roles, including assessing:
    • Competency to do the role
    • Performance to date
    • Flexibility of individuals to relocate
    • Motivation of staff to complete the outstanding works ie not de-motivating the staff with the message
    • What the business was prepared to offer to those who would be prepared to relocate
    • HR and legal parameters, including consistency of message and assessment across varying role
    • Minimising business risks:
      • Current work not being completed
      • “Push back” ie tribunals or other legal consequences
      • Poor PR to the detriment of current or other future work
      • Department Head’s time to do this, whilst managing “business as usual”
      • Logistics of managing this process from 400 miles away, with two locations 200 miles apart

Sue Cohen’s role

  • Planning and administering overall process, information flow and timescales
  • Managing logistics – scheduling meetings to minimise disruption to existing business and reduce impact on Senior manager’s workload
  • Identifying and collating the risks:
    • Collating staff questions and issues
    • Obtaining advice from HR/legal advisors
    • Briefing directors and collating their needs, in line with HR advice
    • Briefing Department Head, ensuring message minimised risk
    • Co-ordinating with HR manager and external HR Legal adviser
    • Running staff meetings with Department Head

Sue’s contribution

  • Minimised disruption to business, through planning of meetings and travel
  • Ensured all questions were recorded and answered to satisfaction of all staff
  • Collated directors’ requirements and responses to staff
  • Removed need for directors to be directly involved in process
  • Coached department head through the process, acting as “sounding board”

Key achievements / outputs

  • All questions were answered promptly, to staff satisfaction
  • End-dates were mutually agreed, such that ongoing work was completed with minimal disruption
  • A number of staff were retained and successfully relocated
  • Department Head able to continue with significant amount of “day job”
  • Process completed with all employee questions resolved and no pushback ie no employment or legal challenges/claims were made against the company
  • Investment in 15 days of my time saved potential for £’000s of claims and management time to deal with such claims


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