Precision Refrigeration boss Nick Williams has described the “horrible, horrible process” of laying off staff in a candid video reflecting on the restructuring caused by Covid-19.
Mr Williams has been posting a regular video diary documenting the company’s experiences since lockdown was introduced in March and in the latest episode he speaks frankly about the effect that redundancies have had on the Norfolk-based business and him personally.
During the video, a visibly upset Mr Williams said that having to make decisions which directly affected livelihoods had led to many sleepless nights.
“Once we had made the difficult decision that redundancies were necessary we needed to start thinking about just how many people the business would need and what structure we would require to move forward post-Covid 19.
“Obviously some very, very difficult decisions would have to be made – it’s a horrible, horrible process, not least for the people that are let go at the end of it but also for us as a business and for me personally.”
An emotional Mr Williams admitted that “throughout the whole process I wasn’t sleeping properly,” before being unable to finish his sentence.
He continued: “However difficult the decision was to make redundancies it was made slightly easier in the fact that it was nothing that was self-inflicted; it’s not like we made some bad decisions and the business had taken a downturn. It is literally that we, along with the whole industry and the whole world economy, had had the rug pulled from underneath us.”
Mr Williams, whose company employed around 70 staff prior to the crisis, said the redundancy procedure “really took a toll”.
“I’m fully aware of the impact this was going to have on those staff members that we would unfortunately be letting go. The business is now coming up for 12-years-old and we have seen tremendous growth, and with that growth has meant hiring people throughout to fulfill the increase in the business. So going through a redundancy process was something very alien to me. I have never had to do it in this business or, in fact, my whole career.”
By law, businesses have to conduct a 30-day consultation process before making redundancies and the refrigeration maker took advice throughout, Mr Wiliams said. “It was a real big learning curve and not something that I would like to repeat anytime soon,” he added.
“Many other companies all around the world are making redundancies right now because of the impact on the economy from Covid-19. That did mean that staff did, thankfully, take it a little bit better than potentially they otherwise would because it is not something that is really related to Precision – this is a much, much bigger issue.
“It had to be done, however tough it was on those staff members that we have lost, for the survival of the business, and also for the security of the jobs of those people that will be remaining with us. I really do appreciate how well our staff took this horrible situation.”
Other episodes of the video series produced by Precision can be seen HERE.