Written by KAROLINA BOOTH
As a company grows, issues can start to appear that can reduce productivity and profitability. Lines of communication may become blurred, creating subtle inefficiencies that add up over time. Work areas may get duplicated or neglected, senior staff may be used to holding on to tasks when delegation would be more appropriate and employees might find it hard to adapt to change.
This is when a business can benefit from a structural redesign to ensure that the right people are in the right roles, that staff have the appropriate authority and skills to carry out their work, and that all departments are communicating properly and effectively.
This can involve some difficult decisions. You might need to change the locations your staff work in, reduce the number of employees working in certain areas of your business to adapt to market changes, invest more resource into new areas or simply streamline your operations. Whatever the reason, restructuring a business can be a necessary but complex task to navigate. Occasionally it can involve difficult processes like making staff redundant. Whether you are downsizing or just making organisational changes, a restructure will have a wide-ranging effect on your business and the people you employ and should be handled with care.
Here are Reality HR’s five C’s of restructuring a business:
Are you clear on your Plan A? Why is the change necessary and what does the future look like? What are the potential risks? If Plan A fails what is your Plan B? Contingency planning is really important and ensures you are able to adapt to changing circumstances and change direction if the risks start to outweigh the benefits. It’s essential that you remain focused and organised throughout the change process but are also able to anticipate when it’s necessary to change direction. Ensure you have a timeline and understand the necessary steps and actions at each point on the journey but be flexible if necessary.
As with any organisational change, communication is key. Ensuring employees are kept up to date during the process and communicated to in a timely manner will not only make them feel less stressed, but will help reduce speculation or rumours circulating amongst employees. The same goes for suppliers, clients and anyone else who may be affected by the changes. Make sure you identify all the stakeholders who must be communicated with and any impact the change will have on them. It is important to remember to have a consistent approach across all the people delivering messages and agree an approach for handling any questions and concerns. Determine the most effective means of communication for the group or individuals. Don’t forget about those employees who are not directly affected – they should also know what is happening.
There are many legal obligations in regards to the process, depending on the size of your company as well as the scale of your proposed restructure. Specialist consultancy can help you or your HR department navigate the law and ensure your planned process is not only appropriate but also compliant with employment legislation. Seek advice, and take it on board to avoid making costly mistakes.
A change in company structure can be a stressful and uncertain time for people affected both directly and indirectly. Some employees may find changes more difficult to adapt to than others, and if redundancies are made this will be unsettling. This can have a negative effect on people’s wellbeing and performance. Be compassionate and empathetic about how changes might affect staff and continue to communicate.
Consider if your company culture needs to change with its new structure. Are there old processes, cultural norms or behaviours that you are trying to change? If so, it would be wise to consider if your internal communications strategy reflects this. Good communication is usually very evident in most successful organisations.