Restructuring guide for employers

Planning workplace change or restructuring your business? Understanding the fundamentals of workplace change/change management is essential for all managers.

What is a restructure?

Restructuring is a process that an organisation may go through when change is required to improve how it operates.

Organisations may consider restructuring for a number of reasons. The major catalysts are when the business needs to change how the workforce looks because one of the following reasons:

  • there is a sale or transfer of a business (this is classed as a technical restructure and there are)
  • new or improved technology
  • product changes
  • loss of supplier markets
  • change in consumer or market demand
  • financial reasons, i.e. payroll can no longer afford staff

HOW DOES A RESTRUCTURE LOOK?

Strategic change can result in organisational structure developments such as:

  • creating new roles
  • merging existing roles
  • removing roles
  • a combination of the above

THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER 

  • The restructure needs to be for genuine reasons - people can see through businesses that use the process to remove employees for other reasons. Remember, if you conduct the process unfairly or unreasonably by leaving gaps along the way you could find yourself responding to a personal grievance

  • Always go into the process with an open mind and be willing to consider employee feedback. You may have a predetermined path in mind, however employees will often provide feedback that results in better longterm outcomes for the company so consider their thoughts carefully

  • Avoid personalising the process - what do you require from your people to ensure the business's success and longevity? Organisations will often seek an external consultant to provide objective advice and help deliver a hard message without personal relationships blurring the lines of communication

WHO CAN SUPPORT ME WHEN CONDUCTING A RESTRUCTURE?

Some organisations will use a combination of HR consultants and lawyers. 

HR consultants tend to be the 'boots on the ground' - guiding businesses through the process - and are usually present during employee meetings. Our consultants are always there alongside the employer during this process. HR consultants also tend to provide cost-effective documentation for the processes. If you have good HR support you may not necessarily need to engage with a lawyer.

Lawyers provide advice on the legal process that needs to be followed and will often provide support when a personal grievance has been the outcome of the process. Regardless of how robust your restructuring process is, an employee is entitled to challenge it. Employees can and do engage advocates (non-lawyers) or lawyers to challenge processes. It is particularly important that you follow the correct process when this happens; however it can be prevented by a well-communicated strategy from the outset.

CONSIDERING RESTRUCTURING NOW OR GOING FORWARD?

If you need to adapt your operating model to a new environment and your people could be affected by this, we highly recommend seeking HR support sooner rather than later to ensure that your business is best prepared and you can provide the best options.

RESTRUCTURE GUIDE FOR EMPLOYERS

For further business advice and support, download our complimentary Restructuring Guide for Employers here.