How to choose those directly affected in a restructure

Planning is an essential part of any organisational restructure, and crafting a clear and decisive plan is key to ensuring you manage the human impact of change effectively.

A major component of the planning process, and arguably the most critical, is choosing who will be directly affected when the restructure takes place. In making these decisions there are many aspects to consider, but by certifying who will be impacted early on, it is more manageable to reduce the negative impacts of these decisions.

But how do you choose?

When determining affected employees, you will need to consider the following:

  • Firstly, you must develop a sound business case for the redundancy. This will form the basis of the organisation’s dialogue with stakeholders. Additionally, this is important for legal reasons and help with transparency in the process.
  • The business case should justify the reasons for the restructure and any possible redundancies including alternative actions considered before making the redundancy decision
  • There should be a clear and transparent methodology for the selection process. This should be sensitive to stakeholder interests.
  • The criteria to be used for the selection process should be based upon hard evidence and, again, may need to take into account the interests of stakeholders. Indeed, poor use of selection criteria can expose an organisation to challenges in the courts, or at FWA. Toyota Australia is a good example of using evidence based data for its selection process during redundancies which occurred in 2012. Stakeholders were unable to challenge the validity of those selected for redundancy, as the selection criteria was backed with evidence.
  • Finally, you need to consider the legal possibilities for the redundancy. What laws or legal agreements need to be considered? You need to ensure process is seen as fair, is in accordance with employment laws and contracts and there are no legitimate claims for unfair dismissal.

It can sometimes be hard to ensure that you ‘tick all the boxes’ in the selection process, but, in order to protect your organisation, care must be taken to make certain your choices are justifiable, adhere to your legal responsibilities, and take into account the interests of your stakeholders.

Finally, remember that restructure does not have to mean redundancy. Sometimes the criteria in your selection process can be shaped by who may be a candidate for redeployment – and more on that next time!

if you are interested in exploring the further ways to manage change more effectively in your own organisation, please contact us for more infomation.