Providing flexible HR expertise and support during a period of change

£600,000 cost saving through complex redundancy project – with no tribunal claims.

The brief

Sonus needed to make some difficult resourcing decisions.  The EMEA region was targeted to be downsized by 12 positions in 6 countries while ensuring that local country employment laws were followed and all affected individuals were treated with respect and dignity throughout the process.

Sonus needed a flexible and reactive HR partner who could support the business and hit the ground running to help them achieve their ambitious downsizing exercise in order to realise significant cost savings quickly.  As the internal HR team were relatively new in post, they required additional support to ensure that ‘business as usual’ activities could take place when the project was underway.

Why Connor?

Connor had already completed one project for the client – which entailed running the UK HR department whilst recruiting for an EMEA HR business partner – this project was successfully completed within the deadlines and they were keen to secure our services for the second project.

The approach

Our approach was to be both flexible and responsive – ensuring that we listened to the concerns of the management team and helped them to find pragmatic solutions that delivered the cost savings whilst minimising the risks to the business. 

We had sound commercial experience of dealing with complex people issues within EMEA. We also had a good understanding of the sensitivities around the commercial and cultural differences between Europe and the US which enabled us to have a credible influence on the senior management teams.

What we did for Sonus

Project management

  • We defined the project management plan for all six countries – working with the country managers to identify the roles
  • We worked in conjunction with the HR business partner and HR officer at Sonus to agree roles and responsibilities within the project
  • We managed the stakeholders expectations at all times in terms of the different stages of the project
  • We delivered the project on time within budget and with significant cost savings to the business.

Employee relations

  • We identified how each redundancy process was to be run within each country in order to comply with the local country employment laws on consultation periods, selection mechanisms, works councils, notice periods etc
  • In France we facilitated the redundancy process with trade union representatives and ensured that all matters were handled effectively avoiding a costly court case
  • We liaised with local employment lawyers in each country and communicated information back to the stakeholders at each stage
  • Connor handled all redundancies within the UK ensuring that some sensitive complex cases were handled effectively and did not result in any employee tribunal claims.

HR coaching support

  • Throughout the project we provided coaching support for the HR officer in terms of employment law knowledge in EMEA
  • We also provided coaching and on-boarding support for the newly recruited HR business partner.

Business outcomes

  • Connor delivered a complex project of 12 redundant positions across six countries with no legal cases or tribunal claims within the necessary timescale of six weeks
  • Cost savings of £600,000 to Sonus
  • Our time remained flexible – the client only paid for the hours worked in any particular day
  • The HR officer was more confident in dealing with complex HR issues across EMEA
  • The HR business partner was also able to deliver the HR operational day to day work while Connor led the project.

What the client said

“Whenever we reach out to Connor for HR support they always deliver.

They react with great flexibility, pragmatism and enthusiasm – we could not have managed without Rhona as a project manager throughout our recent restructuring exercise, which we needed to be implemented at short notice. She delivered the project within our timescales in a calm and professional manner – we are so grateful Rhona was able to assist us in our hour of need.”
Senior stakeholder, Sonus

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