Keeping employees engaged during a restructuring


The impact of coronavirus has meant that corporate restructuring is impacting more of us than ever before. Below are some tips for organisations navigating this to ensure that employees remain engaged through the process.

The phrase ‘restructuring’ covers a structural change carried out in an industry, business, and/or establishment level.

It could be seen as the response of the organisation to the long term forces of economic, political and social demands.

Restructuring is a reality for the majority of us and every employee will likely experience at least one restructuring event during their career. It has long been regarded that employee health and wellbeing suffer as a consequence of a restructure, both for those that are laid off but also for people who get to keep their jobs. Recent literature shows that inadequate employee health and wellbeing may even be the result of restructuring without lay-offs.

Job uncertainty is one primary reason for poor employee health and wellbeing during restructuring. Job insecurity concerns both the concern about losing your job but also concerns about the future of one’s job within the organisation. Staff may be worried about what their role is likely to be in the future, what duties may they have to take on, and whom will they work with?

Other variables that may explain the negative connection between restructuring and employee health and wellbeing may be more disputes between employees and between line managers and employees and increased workload. Not being sure what is expected of you in your new role can also be an issue during restructuring.

What things can organisations do?

Some research shows that employee health and wellbeing might be kept stable or even improve after restructuring. Employment insecurity is a primary reason for poor employee health and wellbeing during a restructure.

A large European study found that three factors are necessary for ensuring employee health and wellbeing during a restructuring:

1. Communication is essential

HR and management should openly communicate precisely what the aims and objectives are of the restructure. They must also communicate what the process will look like: which changes will take place when and why? To stop rumours developing it is usually preferable to openly disclose that not all outcomes are known upfront instead than giving the impression that some information is being withheld.

2. Support is essential

Senior management should be sure that decisions are fair and equal, and employees should be supported both through the change process but additionally in their jobs. Work may change drastically due to restructuring, and a job analysis may be required to discover whether employees hold the necessary skills to complete any new duties associated with the job. Training may be necessary even if Mr Bloggs has been in the business for 35 years.

3. Employee participation in the planning and execution of the change is vital

Employees are experts in their work, and they know what is feasible and which changes can be implemented. Engagement also helps ensure buy-in and commitment to the alterations that need to be implemented.

Need help with restructuring, contact Beagle HR today