A number of highly publicised restructures have recently raised the question of how to help staff cope in these stressful, and often prolonged, situations. While last week’s article looked at internal communications, this piece considers the structures that can be put in place to assist those leaving.
In the same case discussed last week – a UK pharmacists’ association that split into a regulator and a professional body – training was provided to staff members to adapt to the impending change. A training organisation, Mind Gym, was brought in to deliver intensive training on understanding your individual reaction to change and, for managers, managing change in your team. “We did quite a lot, I think, around helping people to face the new reality,” Zoe Mounsey, who managed internal communications during the restructure, said.
One element of the process that Mounsey believes was handled very well was the use of an outplacement organisation. “We got an outplacement organisation onboard quite early on, so as soon as people were identified as ‘at risk’ – even if they didn’t end up being made redundant, they were still given support,” Mounsey said.
The outplacement service ran group sessions on ‘change process emotions’, on CV-writing, and on the then current economic climate. “I think that gave people some basic information, and then there was follow-up, one-to-one, with individuals, either to kind of do coaching work with their CVs, do interview coaching, or to do whatever it was that person had identified,” Mounsey added.
While not all organisations have the financial resources to do this, employees that were made redundant were given more than statutory redundancy pay. Furthermore, they were given an extra £1,000 to spend on education, training, and development in order to prepare them for their career move. “So that was a clear sign that the organisation gave that, ‘We are keen to help you’,” Mounsey said.
“In terms of the redundancy process, I think the organisation did as well as it could do, while … trying to involve people in the decision-making process. We didn’t present a fait accompli, which in some ways would have made communication easier,” Mounsey concluded.