One thing you can be sure of, nothing stays the same. Organisations will be constantly reviewing how they are adapting to meet the changing economy and technology, sometimes requiring a restructure and reduced headcount to stay relevant and competitive. Leading up to a period of transition, management may hold back official announcements until final confirmation to avoid misinformation. During this period, rumours and the ripple of uncertainty are a natural response when employees don’t know what change will mean for them. Once the official restructure announcement is made, employees will either; be learning they are redundant and go through their own cycle of grief; or be one of the employees chosen to implement the new company strategy. For everyone involved, there will be a myriad of emotions and tangible changes that need time to process before moving forward.
During the three phases of a restructure; pre-restructure uncertainty; announcement and; post restructure transition, there is increased risk of disengagement, presenteeism, low productivity and unintended staff turnover. There can often be damage to the organisations market reputation. If managed poorly, anyone feeling disgruntled through the change process will happily share their story.
Employers can reduce the negative impacts of a restructure by providing specific support and communication during the three phases,
- Pre–restructure support
We’ve all been around and have seen the signs to know big decisions are about to be made and office chatter will quickly spread. People are more resilient if they understand their worst case scenario and create an incase plan if it should eventuate. No information can be as damaging as misinformation and make the transition process more difficult. Providing coaching support to employees as the first phase of a change program allows employees to feel supported and sense of control over their own choices and behaviour during uncertainty.
- Communicating with humanity
Having to tell an employee they’ve lost their job is stressful for everyone involved. Whether Human Resources or Line Managers are responsible for the communication to employees, ensure they’ve received the training that will provide the tools and confidence to ensure the communication is handled with respect and empathy. For those employees moving remaining, transparent communication as to the reasons for the restructure and how it will direcctly impact their role is vital to build trust and focus.
- Supports individual uniqueness with the right outplacement program
Each employees’ circumstances are unique and more so for those in their mid to late career. Adapting to a changing market, financial wellbeing, mental and physical health, personal branding and confidence can be enhanced by the right program. A natural part of the grief cycle is anger, by providing the right level of support an organisation not only creates a positive experience for the redundant employees, it also demonstrates to employees that remain that everyone matters.
- Post–restructure coaching
The employees that are now entrusted to take the organisation forward may have experienced feelings of shock, grief for colleagues that have lost their jobs and survivors guilt. As organisations become lean, employees’ may have been promoted or inherited a more senior or increased workload. Providing individual coaching programs to support their transition and development into their new roles can be a crucial element to rebuild a positive culture.
A key element to engage employees is trust. Trust is built when employees feel their employer has invested in them and embraced a human centred approach. Restructuring can be challenging but if transitioned well, it can also be the beginning of organisational and personal growth and new opportunities.
WiserLife provides Outplacement programs following a Whole Life and uniquely individual approach in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and supporting organisations through the three phases of a restructure. To find out how we can support your employees through change contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org