Supporting a painful reorganization

N°295b – Synopsis (8p.) – Reorganization
Supporting a painful reorganization
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The difficult context often leads to taking painful measures, which can damage staff motivation, or even the social climate. What posture can managers adopt to ease these transformations?

In a June 2020 report, the World Bank alerted the business world to a major risk of recession following the Covid-19 pandemic: it could be the most severe in 150 years. In this context, many companies will need to engage in difficult transformations to secure their survival: restructurings, lay-offs, mergers… Even if these measures are pretty often inevitable to improve long-term prospects, they are nonetheless always painful for the staff.

Without adequate support for the teams, these transformations can leave a long-term impression, with disastrous outcomes. Thus, after a staff reduction plan, a strong decline in the engagement and performance of remaining staff is often observed, if they believe that those who were laid off did not obtain a fair deal—or if they think that those who remain are not treated as well as those who left! Another major risk is the departure of the most valuable staff members. Radical restructuring often leads to a high increase in voluntary departures, generally among the most talented employees and most sought-after profiles.

But the opposite is also possible: a painful yet inevitable transformation can translate into an opportunity to strengthen bonds with the staff, by displaying an unbending resolve to treat everyone with fairness and respect. This can happen through general measures, such as financial compensations or support to get back into employment. But this also depends on the quality of the interactions between the staff and their hierarchy—particularly with their direct-line manager. Through the way in which they convey the organization’s messages and answer the concerns of each and all, managers have a fundamental role to ensure proper crisis management. By taking feelings into consideration, by showing sincere attention to their staff while remaining serene when faced with the most hostile reactions, they can considerably lift the anguish and possible hostility of the teams.

What should you watch out for when accompanying teams in times of high tension?

In this synopsis:
– Addressing hostile reactions in a time of tension
Supporting your teams through a painful reorganization
Triggering back a positive dynamic after a redundancy plan

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