The term restructuring very much relates to the process of reviewing the existing set-up as well as preparing a well thought out plan for reorganising the business, with usually the aim of improving profitability of the enterprise. For obvious reasons, if the programme involves reducing headcount, it will evoke strong feelings for all stakeholders, and should therefore be given the appropriate consideration.
The process of restructuring, if carried out correctly, can have a reinvigorating impact for the whole company. It is the chance to ditch old, out-of-date structures / reporting lines and build a new structure that is fit the for the future.
At gutowski&milner we have in-depth experience of implementing such processes, from wide ranging (all encompassing) wholesale changes to minor adjustments to the organisation. Whatever the planned changes, it is vital to consider the following points before implementation:
- What is the reason for the changes?
- Define the goals and objectives of the programme
- Agree the budget (including likely redundancy / legal costs)
- Articulate the changes – who does what till when?
- Timeframe for the changes
- Communication programme
The reasons for re-organising a business can be numerous, but will most likely include:
- Need to improve profitability
- Declining sales – due to competitor activity or market trends
- Redeploying resources – due to a change in performance / opportunity in a specific category
- Strengthen legal structures
- Pre or post M&A activity
After the restructuring programme has been approved by the relevant stakeholders, a strategy for implementation will need to be prepared, at this point we believe that communication within the organisation is vital.
It is very likely that (despite your best efforts), there will be some rumours within the organisation that “changes are afoot”! This can be a critical time for the business – with employee moral dipping and focus being spent on internal politics, rather than driving the enterprise forward.
You will now need to act quickly. There is nothing positive about an organisation where rumours are swirling around, stakeholders are not focused on their tasks, morale has lowered and everyone is anticipating changes.
In our experience, it is vital to be honest when you communicate the planned changes. Most people will understand (but may not like), and this is a lot better than being less than honest in the first place, remember, the truth always comes out!
If the restructuring activity involves headcount reductions, be fair with your outgoing employees – create an exit programme with as much care as you would for a new incoming employee. There is a very good reason for this – you want the enterprise (post restructuring) to have every chance of delivering on your goals / objectives, and this could be put into jeopardy should the remaining stakeholders feel that their ex. team members have not been treated appropriately.