Mergers, acquisitions, and restructurings are all changes to a corporate structure that bring with them the risk of redundancy. Redundancy is generally when there are multiple people performing the exact same duties. Companies naturally seek to reduce and eliminate redundancies because they cost money but do not improve the bottom line. This process of eliminating redundant positions can be a difficult one for the employee that is potentially terminated in the process and potentially for the company if the employee sues the company for not abiding by applicable laws (such as Fair Work Act of 2009). Sometimes companies will not have to terminate an employee because of redundancy because they will be able to re-assign the employee to somewhere else in the company, though even that can be difficult too because it is possible the new position will be wildly different from the original one. For a number of reasons, most companies are getting better at helping employees manage the redundancy process.
Strong communication is the first component of properly managing redundancy. Preventing inaccurate information or gossip from spreading around the workplace is very important because otherwise such things can cause damage to a company in a variety of ways and make a difficult situation more difficult. Companies who run the communication, either written or verbal, by multiple relevant managers, executives, or HR representatives before it gets to the employee(s) being let go obviously do better than those who do not. Being open about the communication (not trying to hide anything), being clear/detailed to prevent confusion, and keeping records of all communication are also parts of strong communication regarding redundancy.
Supporting the employees being let go is the moral thing to do because such employees typically did not do anything wrong or have any issues with their performance. Companies will find it is also the cost-effective thing to do because employees who feel like they’ve been taken care of during the redundancy process are less likely to file a lawsuit against the company. Companies can support employees by offering them transfers to other (hopefully comparable) positions within the company, referrals to staffing agencies or other similar companies, or stipends designed to help with short-term financial issues.
All of the above is assuming the company has already attempted to prevent redundancies in the first place by taking annual inventory of the strategic goals of each business unit within the company or making the redundancies voluntary via buyouts or asking employees to retire early.