How HR management should handle organisational restructure

Organisational Restructure

An organisational restructure is needed to handle change within a company. This restructuring is required to move the business in a new direction and can occur for many different reasons. This often tense time is usually entirely handled by the business’ HR department but is ultimately a management responsibility – this is where we separate the leaders from the managers. You must be able to handle the company restructure effectively as this can make or break your company’s future.

Create a vision and plan

Direction needs to come from the top to identify the journey that the staff are about to be taken on. The reason for change will determine the vision. Many change processes are linked to cost reduction or the implementation of systems which typically in turn aims to reduce resource levels.

Having a sound business case for change is paramount if even one employee will leave the organisation. The decision needs to be defendable. So step back and really ask yourself why are we doing this. Restructuring over past years has often been used to dress up other issues including poor performance; that is a sticky path to tread.

Organisational restructure and design

Mapping the change process involves understand the future ‘to be’ organisation. We are not talking a flipchart and a marker. Secure some professional organisational design support to map the flow of work through the business and to determine the ‘target operating model’. Whilst this may sound a lot of hassle don’t underestimate the impact that change has on the business and team; so you want to get it right first time.

Key to the right organisational design is to ensure you address the current challenges and optimise on the potential opportunities. If communication is poor and silos are commonplace, design your team to address these issues. Having two interlinked teams working for one ultimate leader can create a team culture.

The organisation needs to reflect the business plan. Ask yourself whether you have the right positions in the new organisation to deliver the plan and meet the financial forecast.

Once you have designed the organisation that you plan to work towards, you’ll need a fair process to determine who is selected for the roles in the organisation.

Be prepared. A pitfall of change is manager misalignment, a top team all seeing things differently and giving mixed messages to staff. Lock your managers in a room and don’t come out until you have bottomed out a Q&A for every likely question that you are going to be asked.

Manage productivity

Company change can lead to a high level of anxiety in your workforce; anxiety can affect employee morale and productivity as they worry about redundancy. To keep the business running as it should, communicate, communicate and communicate even if it’s bad news. Silence is often a factor that leads to losing the people you want to retain. If an attitude of “us versus them” is allowed to fester, it can break the culture of your company.

Leaving package(s)

For the employees who are to be let go, it is essential that you have clarity on entitlements. Do not feel that for reasons of genuine re-organisation that you have to hand out huge severance agreements. Be fair and reasonable. Do not adopt an attitude of “this is just business” and instead be sure to thank them for time and effort spent working for you. Do everything you can within your own networks to help them secure future work (for example, provide outplacement support). Even after they have left they remain a branding tool for your business.


Those left in the company can often feel “survivor’s guilt”. This feeling will need to be eliminated to move forward and finish the company’s restructure successfully. If you have cared for your departing employees successfully, this will help motivate those remaining as they know their former friends and colleagues are not leaving on bad terms.

Focus their attention on the new organisation restructure and begin to implement any training scheme they may need for their new roles – this may help with the question what is in it for me and why should I stay? Before long, your workforce shall once again be efficient and happy in their new positions. The company can then move forward into a new prosperous future.

Get in touch with us if you need help with a company restructure.

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