With these turbulent times, one of the most difficult things that employees have to be able to deal with is the Corporate Restructure. Whatever the reasons may be for the restructure or downsize, it leaves two scenarios for the individual: you’re left out in the cold or you’re stuck struggling with a smaller group of people, a whole bunch of uncertainty, and often a lot more work to do as a result. I’ve personally seen two restructures, one of which left me finding greener pastures, and the other made me want to leave before things got ugly. I thought I’d put some advice together for those of us trying to struggle through these tough times. I’d love to hear your own thoughts too.

The instincts of every individual are different, for those more empathic and more altruistic, it’s to think about their crowd, how they can support their friends, to keep that bond strong and to support those who’ve lost their jobs. For the more individualistic it’s to protect their own interests and focus on number one. Ultimately both types reach the same needs:

  1. Understand as fast as possible what the new structure will look like
  2. Figure out where you fit into it and what your new role will mean
  3. Work out what strengths you will be building off and where you’ll feel more stretch, and ultimately how does this build off your passions?
  4. How does this new role serve the business context of the restructure
  5. What do you need to communicate about yourself and the role and to whom?
  6. What are your long terms goals and how does this help meet them?

The next logical step seems to be to figure out what your new network looks like, both working groups, support network, and beyond.

Building off your role, your motivations and how this new pair of clothes fits, set yourself some new goals and targets
With these new goals, who can help you meet them?

If you’re part of the team doing the redesign then here’s some useful tips:

  • Be clear about why the change is taking place
  • Remember people’s fears: they will now be more insecure about their own future and feel less creative about the future, they’ll also be worried that the club they joined may not be the same as the one in the future
  • Create a culturally appropriate forum for people to vent: smaller groups probably work best to enable everyone’s voice to be heard
  • Don’t underestimate the hit on productivity that the emotional loss of colleagues and fear of the future can cause. One way of dealing with this is to work out how to support people’s day jobs, finding a balance of the now and the now what?
  • Decide on your communication strategy, who, when, how and be personal and human at every step
  • Use redundancy of communication: communicate both in person but also consider other channels: how do you normally communicate big news?
  • As you refine your plans, make any progress tangible even if the progress is just a vague plan, people need to know where they are and when they will find out more detail on the plan
  • Figure out how you’re going to measure the suitability of your new organisational designs, whether it’s people’s roles, processes, or structures. And consider how you’ll report that progress.

In short, my parting thought for you in whatever role you’re taking in restructuring activity, is how can you go from surviving to thriving and ultimately becoming stronger as a result, both individually and in your crowd.