Time For a Change – Restructures Cheat sheet
They say a change is as good as a holiday and quite often we change our environment to make ourselves feel better. Bunnings simply wouldn’t survive if we weren’t a nation obsessed with renovating and rebuilding our homes. And yet, when it comes to our work environment, we can be much less eager to make a change. The thought of a restructure can fill us with dread, even when we know the organisation needs one.
So let’s take some of the challenge out of making a change.
Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of undertaking a restructure.
…be clear on what you are trying to achieve. Are you seeking to ease funding pressures or taking the company in a new direction? Are you responding to a downturn in business or changing the way you deliver services? Being certain of what your end goal is will make reaching it much easier. Also, be clear on your timeframe. Give the project a realistic deadline and stick to it.
…be informed. Do your research and get good advice on how to implement your restructure. Make sure you also get an understanding of the impact it may have on employees. Being aware of this can help you prepare them for the upcoming changes.
…communicate. Once you know what changes you’ll be making, begin outlining them to staff. Be transparent with your process. Explain why it is necessary and what you hope to achieve. Don’t just tell them once then walk away. Keep people updated regularly so they know what is happening, otherwise the rumour mill will fill the void for you.
…be considerate of your staff. These changes may have a big impact on how they do their jobs, or whether they have one at all. It’s natural for employees to be anxious during a restructure so bear that in mind with the language and approach you use to communicate with them.
…listen to feedback. Make sure you actually hear what your employees are saying so that you can address those views. They might have some great ideas. They might not. You don’t have to agree with them but you should show some understanding of their concerns.
…know your limits. Learn to recognise when you need help, and ask for it. Bring in outside advisors, if need be, to walk you through the process and ensure you are legally compliant. It’s better to ask for help and get it right, then stay silent and get it horribly wrong.
…rush. Hurrying a restructure risks ruining it. You could make otherwise unavoidable mistakes and create chaos and panic among your staff. Plan each step of the process before you begin so you know where you are headed. That said, don’t;
…drag it out. Prolonging, stalling, or deviating unnecessarily from your path is not a good idea. It makes staff weary, delays the change and threatens the success of your project.
…speak too soon. Jumping in too early with a restructure announcement before you know exactly what you’re doing can send the rumour mill into a spin and people may ask questions you can’t yet answer. Make sure you have a solid plan in place before you tell employees what it is. That way you’ll be able to respond to any questions with some degree of certainty and avoid conjecture.
…sack and Run. If your restructure leads to job losses try to offer what assistance you can for those about to lose theirs. Be fair with your redundancy package, re-employ elsewhere if possible, or put them in touch with agencies who can help them find work.
…forget those who remain. If you’ve had to cut staff numbers it’s worth remembering the impact this has on those who remain. They might still be nervous about their own job security or upset at having lost colleagues. Others might be struggling to adapt to newly-defined roles. Recognise this and work to build a new team spirit.
Print out this cheat sheet and stick it on your desk as you plan your restructure. It will help you stay focussed and avoid common pitfalls. Ready to get started? Click here for our step-by-step guide to restructures, and we’ll walk you through each stage of the process.