Strong professional relationships that are genuine and honest will set both the business and employees in good stead when it comes to the decisions made to restructure and downsize.

Downsizing decisions aren’t made lightly. They usually have a big impact on all concerned; often businesses will have exhausted many other options to save costs before it comes to identifying those roles that can no longer be supported. With redundancies, often there is very little time or none at all before the knowledge and skill sets walks out of the door.

The impact this has on those employees remaining can be significant.

High performing teams are built on strong professional relationships, where teams communicate openly and honestly, back and support each other – playing to each other’s strengths. When members of these teams are reduced through restructure it can create a range of emotions that may be unexpected and/or unfamiliar. There can be a sense of guilt felt by those remaining, a sense of fear or anxiety of how the team will ‘survive’ or carry on to impacting on morale and engagement, ultimately resulting in a not so favourable performance.

Relationships amongst employees and leaders will be tested the most under pressure, with increased workloads and the expectation of taking on other tasks that may fall outside current acquired skill sets and knowledge.

Seamless restructures occur when leaders communicate in a timely manner and foremost are honest with their employees.

Leaders and employees need to openly acknowledge how individuals maybe feeling and work together to support the team. This support will look quite different and will take time.

A true leader will invest time in just ‘checking in’ with their staff in addition to identifying any additional training or knowledge sharing that may be required.  This stage of the restructure will certainly test how well a leader ‘really’ knows their staff.  Leaders who simply take time to say “thank you” and acknowledge the efforts of those effected by the restructure will go a long way.

Often business’ primary focus is on those roles that are no longer required. However, it is as important, if not more important for business’ to have a strategy on how this will impact the remaining employees.  All too often, this is forgotten or simply not valued enough.

Serena Easton

Serena Easton

Serena is a former Leading Teams facilitator. She left in 2016.