Working Transitions

Desert, crumble or make your career rise: What happens when you are subject to TUPE?

Channel 4 are left with the prospect of having to find new hosts for the Great British Bake Off  after the current presenters, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, announced they would not be moving with the show when it transfers over from the BBC next year.

It poses a headache for the channel and must have been a decision that Giedroyc and Perkins themselves deliberated about. In the commercial world, the takeover of a business by another often gives rise to employees being TUPE’d over.

TUPE refers to the “Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations”. The purpose of TUPE is to protect the employees of an organisation if it changes ownership. In effect, it moves the employee and any liabilities associated with them to the new employer.  It is a complicated piece of legislation and google is full of articles aimed at employers and employees which discusses the process and various employment rights.  But what is missing is practical advice about what you should actually do.

Yes, you may have limited choices and options, but there are things that you should do before you transfer over to ensure that it is the right decision for you and your career.

Acknowledge that you will have feelings

Many dismiss TUPE as just a process, but like any change it generates an emotional response. For many, the feelings are not dissimilar to being made redundant or starting a new job. Because you retain employment, many people underestimate the effect it will have on them. Be prepared to spend time dealing with a whole range of feelings –  from anger and concern through to excitement and positivity. Different people will feel different things at different times.

Understand what the change actually means

There are a number of things that your new employer cannot touch; typically those enshrined in your contract of employment – pay, holiday entitlement etc. However, there are a number of things that can be changed if they are not explicit in your contract – for example benefits (including childcare vouchers, gym memberships, healthcare, season ticket loans etc.), flexible working arrangements, office location and even how you take your lunch break.  Whilst you can request that these existing arrangements continue, there is no legal obligation. It is therefore essential that you understand your entitlement and negotiate prior to the TUPE process completing.

Keep your own counsel

Whilst you may have very personal feelings about the TUPE process (ranging from anger through to concern) you should keep these to yourself. At a very basic level the magnifying glass will be on all employees. How you conduct yourself is important. Keep a positive exterior at work. It’s important to be seen to be optimistic about the future and not too negative about the employer being taken over.

It’s important to remember that you remain contracted at all times. If you are seen to be creating trouble, uncooperative or militant then you could create HR issues for yourself.

Use family and friends

Whilst at work you need to maintain a level of professionalism, use your family and friends to confide in. Ask them for their opinions and vent any frustrations you have when you are with them.

Meet with your new boss

It is likely (although not always) that your immediate line manager or ultimate boss may change. Arrange a meeting with them before you TUPE over. Treat it as you would a job interview i.e. it should be a two way process where you both get to know one another, but it should also be a professional meeting. You need to understand how they run their team, how they see things moving forward and ultimately whether you can work with them. Similarly, they need to understand your career ambitions, your strengths and any areas for development that require their support.

Understand the culture

Moving to a new business will invariably mean a change in culture. Speak to exiting employees or those who have moved on (use your networks to identify anybody who may have worked for your new company previously). Learn everything you can about the new organisation, research the company as you would if you were applying for a new job.

Start performing

Those affected by TUPE (especially where it is a small number) will find that they are being watched more than usual. The new company will want to understand what it is you do and how you do it. Therefore not only do you need to do a good job, but you also need to be seen to be doing a good job. If things like compliance with the dress code and timekeeping have slipped, address these. You don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Career plan+

You should think carefully about your career and where it is heading. Is this move right for you or do you need to consider making a change? Often events like this can spur you into thinking differently, especially where you have got complacent. But it is also good to make sure that your CV is up to date, you are networking properly and you have a plan in case you need to make a change now or further down the line.

Do you want to make the move?

Whilst you have somewhat limited options in terms of redundancy etc. (and this can be found on other blogs via a google search) you do not have to make the move. You could decide not to TUPE over and leave the employment of your organisation.

Get battle ready

The TUPE experience can be positive for some and not for others. It’s therefore important that you get prepared. It may well be that in the future you have to justify your role, there may be promotions to go for or even interviews during redundancy. All of this means that you have to be ready. Keep a record of any achievements so that you have a library of them to share, keep your CV up to date and work on maintaining your networks. Immerse yourself in the new organisation and engage positively at all times.


It is true that TUPE is often unforeseen and can therefore be disruptive.  Many people feel grateful just to have a job and limp into the new company without much thought. But it is possible to make it a positive experience. On the one hand you may find yourself going into an organisation full of opportunity and more aligned with you. There may be career opportunities available that simply hadn’t existed before, investment in new projects and improved working conditions. Embrace the change and you could do well from it. Similarly, the opportunity may not be right and can act as a motivator to getting your career back on track. You may decide to make a career move of your own.

When it comes to the Great British Bake off, Giedroyc and Perkins have made their decision; all eyes are on Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood to see what they now do.


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Working Transitions
14 September 2016
Supporting effective and successful organisational change


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