Managing restructuring and redundancies is a daunting task, especially for managers who have never had to deal with these issues first hand. There are a number of challenges.
- How do you continue to provide quality service?
- What is your process?
- How do you retain top talent?
- How do you support staff both leaving and staying?
- How do you safeguard your reputation?
- Last but not least is the one that most people dread - how do you manage the difficult conversations?
By getting the process right, you stand to gain respect and also engage employees staying and leaving while overcoming most of these challenges. Unfortunately, if you get it wrong the reverse will happen and you will make an already difficult situation worse.
As a targeted programme of career transition and outplacement support, aside of any necessary redundancies, a well managed reorganisation programme should focus on getting the right people with the right skills into the right jobs. Research shows one in two people are in the wrong job and two out of three are unfulfilled, so you can turn the potential threat into an opportunity.
If you have people who have been languishing in their jobs too long with great skills that are not being fulfilled, the best course for both the organisation and the employee would be to use their skills in a more effective way elsewhere in the organisation.
This way you can help save unnecessary job losses and by being proactive as part of the reorganisation process you can enable the right employees to grow and develop their careers plus help provide the quality of service required in other parts of the organisation.
Few people want to be the bearer of bad news. However, when reorganisation happens it is an unfortunate and necessary part of every manager’s role. The key is to be honest and keep your people informed so they know what is happening, when it will happen and who is at risk and, above all else, why change is happening.
If your organisation is providing career transition and outplacement support for your at risk employees it will be a boost to offer this opportunity at an early stage.
The emotional reactions are far from one sided, as it is often as difficult for the manager imparting the news as the employee on the receiving end, especially if the manager’s fate is still uncertain when they have to share the news.
You may encounter staff who:
- have never experienced the threat of redundancy;
- thought they had a clearly defined career path;
- have little or no experience of job searching, writing CVs and interviews;
- feel bitter and fear change;
- feel guilty being selected to stay when colleagues are leaving.
You will require empathy and great communication skills and this is where external support can help. The same applies to supporting redundancy survivors who may be struggling to come to terms with restructuring.