If it feels like your company is continuously going through round after round of reorgs, that’s because it may well be. Organizations are shuffling their decks more often than ever before, and most businesses expect that to continue or even pick up pace in the next five years.
Traditionally an exercise in cost-cutting or efficiency, factors ranging from digitization, disruptive technologies, market forces, the political landscape, and even new legal changes are fuelling the increased pace of org chart shake-ups.
While they may be inevitable, reorganizations come with a considerable time, energy, and emotional cost, especially as just 12% of organizational restructurings meet their intended deadlines.
The main issue is that companies see reorgs as organizational problems to be solved when, in reality, they’re very individual, human processes. With that in mind, there are a few moves that companies can make to at least reduce, if not eliminate, some of the fear, ambiguity, and loss of morale that tends to accompany reorgs.
According to McKinsey, the leaders of reorgs tend to fall into one of two traps when communicating the transformation with their employees:
So, what is the right approach?
What happens to the individual during a reorg can be boiled down to elementary psychological constructs, such as fear, ambiguity, and anxiety. The fear of change is extreme in almost all humans, and it’s very much at play during a big company reorg. If a reorg is a human process, inner transformation at an individual level has to take place before an organizational change can be successful.
One way that a company can facilitate that is by identifying the primary reasons that employees may be experiencing fear and anxiety.
Identifying the main reasons why employees may feel fearful and anxious can help you plan your communications and start to put measures in place to manage the fear.
Employees are often passive participants in a structural reorganization – it’s something that happens to them, which creates a feeling of powerlessness. While it may not be practical to have every employee in the boardroom helping to make strategic decisions, some steps can be taken to give employes a sense of agency in this disruptive moment.
Coaching, for example, can turn anxious, nervous, and fearful employees into a positive, focused, flexible, and proactive workforce. While coaching is powerful year-round for both managers and employees, it is particularly cathartic during moments of significant upheaval.
A good coach can help employees to figure out what they want, both long-term and also from the current reorg, and it gives them a chance to sort of reorg their own values and goals, as well as potentially an opportunity to start again if needed.
Support such as coaching is valuable for employees who may lose their jobs as a result of the reorg. Still, it can be just as useful in helping employees – especially those facing the fears outlined above – in adjusting to their new job, circumstances, or surroundings.
Organizational reorgs are messy, uncomfortable, and unsettling for all involved. By understanding that they are moments of human transformation as much, or more, than business transformation, companies can make sure restructuring happens quickly, smoothly, and, ultimately, helps the company and its employees all get to where they want to go.
Planning a reorg in 2020? Plan ahead and keep your teams onboard, motivated, and agile by offering them the benefits of digital coaching. Book a demo and we’ll be in touch!