Organisational restructures are a catalyst of change; providing opportunities to improve efficiencies in the workplace and career prospects for employees. That is, if the restructure is managed effectively.

The problem is that by nature people are averse to change. Rather than seeing the opportunities that can arise from a restructure, employees are wired to perceive it as a threat.

Over the years I have consistently found that organisations have failed to achieve the KPIs they set for their restructure because of one thing – they failed to adequately manage the human impact of change.

As an HR Manager, there are a number of practical steps you must take in order to manage the human impact of change and ultimately manage a successful restructure:

1. Adequately plan for the restructure

Understanding the rationale for the restructure, the new organisational model, and the key stakeholders who will be affected by change is paramount in shaping the ‘look and feel’ of the restructure.

It is also important to identify the measurements of success relevant to your organisation, which will help drive the creation of a successful restructuring plan

2. Equip your HR leaders with the skills required to implement change

During a restructure HR will be expected to provide advice to employees, so it is crucial that they have a sound understanding of the role they play in leading and supporting the human impacts of change.

Not only does an HR team require leadership, communication and planning skills to lead a restructure, but they will need to exude integrity, honesty and respect.

3. Identify the people issues associated with change

A comprehensive view of the pervasive issues associated with change will allow the HR team grasp the magnitude of change, the gaps that currently exist in the change program, and the support services that will be required. Support services may include:

  • Coaching for Management
  • Outplacement support for employees leaving the company
  • Resilience/stress management assistance for remaining employees

HR must also be on the front foot to manage the legal issues associated with organisational restructures, in the form of employment contracts and enterprise agreements. The time and resources consumed by legal repercussions are a major distraction from achieving the outcomes defined for the restructure.

4. Effectively communicate the change process

With reference to the planning process and your understanding of how change will impact key stakeholders, it is essential that the HR team promotes transparent communication throughout the restructuring process. Define the message that needs to be communicated and how it will be delivered to the affected employees.

Also ask the question, “Do we have the buy in of management?” Without the support of the Senior Management team, your communication plan is useless. Educating the leaders of your organisation to deliver effective communications is fundamental to ensure the success of your restructuring program.

Remember, you can’t communicate enough!

An accountable plan for an organisational restructure is paramount. For specific guidance on how plan and manage a successful restructure within your organisation, contact us today.