The R Word[Posted 27/08/2020 18:15]

The ‘R’ word: 5 Ways British Airways Could Have Done Better

In the current economic crisis, there is one word that has devastated our nations job security: Redundancy. With the news that we are now in the deepest recession on record, the dread ‘R’ word weighs heavy in the minds of our workforce and has become a reality for more than 6,000 British Airways staff in the wake of COVID-19.

Unfortunately, redundancies are necessary in such extreme economic crises and while they can’t reduce the number of job cuts, here at Oraculum Recruitment we believe there are ways that British Airways could have made the transition for their staff easier and more respectful.

Below are 5 things British Airways did badly during their outplacement of staff and how we, at Oraculum Recruitment would advise them to do better.


  1. 1. Fire and Re-Hire

Earlier this week, thousands of BA cabin crew were offered the option of voluntary redundancy with the only alternative offered the dubious opportunity to re-apply for their job with a vast reduction in pay and working conditions. With further investigation, it was revealed that if cabin crew were to accept this offer, their salaries would be fixed and consequently open to erosion by inflation. 

What could they have done better? For many BA employees, having to re-apply for their jobs with reduced pay and conditions and on their employer’s terms will likely leave them feeling undervalued and more like a resource than a worthy and desirable member of staff. Alternatively, BA could have offered their staff reduced hours or offered a year-long sabbatical with a six-month pay-out and job security when the industry revives itself. 


  1. 2. No visible quid pro quo

Observing the mass slashing of staff and salaries, it’s clear that British Airways were desperately making changes in order to survive the economic crisis. In fact, the airline reported a loss of £3.8billion as a direct result of the pandemic. However, without visibility of senior level sacrifices by CEOs Walsh or Cruz, it’s easy to assume that employees are solely feeling the impact of these changes.

What could they have done better? Disclosing senior sacrifices such as salary cuts and unpaid leave could have helped employees understand the desperate position that British Airways have found themselves in.


  1. 3. Forced into ‘voluntary’ redundancy

In most situations, if your role has been made redundant, you are alerted by your employer and offered an alternative, albeit perhaps less senior role within the company. However, under the current economic pressure, British Airways desperately resorted to salary cuts by forced ‘voluntary’ redundancies with the alternative of participating in the ‘Fire and Re-Hire’ system and risking their redundancy.

What could they have done better? As BA had no alternative roles available and were simply making salary cuts, forcing ‘voluntary’ redundancy to their staff simply proves their desperation to save the company. In their position, with the strategic decision they have made to save money there’s not much they could have done but to sincerely and personally thank their loyal staff for their service – which according to a source, they did not.


  1. 4. Poor treatment of staff

Some previous employees have revealed how they had been treated by the airline during their outplacement. One source told us, “(pending quote from BA staff member)”. With a previously prestigious reputation among trainee cabin crew and customers, it will be interesting to see whether their employer brand will suffer because of these drastic changes.

What could they have done better? Transparency has and will always be a key part of every stage of successful employment. Improving transparency of the company’s financial position throughout this period would have allowed their employees to feel valued and would have arguably protected the brand from the backlash they are currently experiencing.


  1. 5. No outplacement services

Providing an outplacement service for BA employees should have been an essential part of their career transitions - particularly in a situation like this.

What could they have done better? Sourced an outplacement service! Not only would this have helped employees identify future opportunities via professional advice, these services would have also protected the British Airways employer brand by sending a clear message that they value their employees – something that was reported missed upon leaving the company.

We are here to Listen & Help

The current crisis has provided challenges for both employees and employers – if your company is considering the outplacement of staff in a dignified, open and positive way then please take a look at Oraculum Recruitment’s NEW Outplacement Service. Do not leave your employees trying to find their way without a map.


Book a free 30-minute consultation HERE now.

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