Restructuring is an often-necessary tool for organizations wishing to align with new or old goals by redefining their workforce. This can take the form of introducing new work methods such as agility, but also often involves merging and splitting teams to create a new and more dynamic company structure.
While it’s necessary that you will lose some employees during times of change, and some by choice, many organizations lose top talent during a restructure simply because restructure can be disheartening, demotivating, and can cause even good employees to leave.
Taking steps to ensure talent retention during a restructure will save your organization money and most importantly, your star performers.
Build Trust with Transparency Before the Restructure
While many organizations attempt to minimize foreknowledge of restructures to reduce speculation and talk, this often achieves the opposite effect. Employees will learn about restructure long before it hits, and many will begin to look for new roles as they fear moving, losing their role, or difficult change.
Being transparent and building trust with honest and authentic dialogue will help to prevent this. Consider scheduling town-hall meetings, one-on-one meetings with managers where appropriate, and regular updates for everyone involved.
Invest in Employee Development
Continuing to invest in employees during a restructure directly shows that you are continuing to maintain commitment to your workforce.
For example, by offering workshops and e-learning or courses to help employees develop needed skills, creating mentoring and coaching programs for those in need, and offering direct training for new processes and software, you will show employees that you are committed to keeping them.
This also means investing in employees who are being let go. Working to offer outplacement and proactive career services to move existing employees into new roles will show that you’re invested in ensuring everyone is taken care of – which will help to boost total employee morale during the restructure.
Directly Connect Restructure with Goals and Strategy
It’s important to directly connect changes to goals and strategy because doing so is motivational and inspirational.
For example, by sharing the fact that new approaches increase customer satisfaction or reduce costs or otherwise directly connect with company strategies, you show that making changes will have a direct return on investment. Similarly, you should share positive results from change as they happen to keep everyone motivated.
Clearly Communicate Expectations for Newly Defined Roles
Most restructuring means change at every level of the organization. This may mean redefining roles, changing software, and even new teams or merged teams who must achieve new things or achieve them in new ways. Clearly communicating and offering training and development for change is important. At the same time, it’s also important to offer recognition, opportunities to lead or develop, and direct praise for adapting and meeting or exceeding new expectations.
Hold Leadership Accountable for Change
No matter what change is happening during your restructure, it’s important that leadership exemplify it. Holding managers and leaders accountable for change and showing change first is crucial to ensuring adoption and high morale throughout the rest of the organization.
You can typically achieve this by bringing leadership into specific training courses and workshops first, which will give them time to adapt and learn what the restructure means for everyone before introducing it to the rest of the workforce. If you start with developing leaders, the rest of the teams will follow.
At the same time, you want to avoid making leadership change seem different from that of the rest of the workforce. Bringing training together and pairing leaders with workers at every level during later training will help to reduce uncertainties.
While restructure is often difficult for everyone involved, retaining top talent during the process is often about being transparent, showing appreciation for employees even when letting them go, and offering direct opportunities to develop and move forward with the new structure.