I recently held a workshop which had a section around organisational change and particularly redundancy. It’s obviously a big subject at the minute, and one which is exercising many managers and HR professionals.
What struck me about the difference within this workshop to those I had held before was that there was less discussion about the case for redundancy. There appeared a tacit acceptance that cutting back costs, and organisational change which may lead to redundancy was a way of life right now.
It got me thinking about changes which involved reductions or closures I had managed through in the past. Some initiated by me, and some which were out of my control, but I had to do the “dirty work” so to speak.
The psychological profile and change
Myers Briggs Type Indicator is a psychological profiling tool which helps people understand how they take in and process information and also how they make decisions. In the decision making arena some of us make decisions based on logical thinking and rationale, while some of us do so based on our feelings and the impact on people. It will come as no surprise to you that given my passion for people, I come into the latter category.
Well at a feedback session I held a few months ago, we got to talking about redundancy, and someone stated, “It’s no good looking at redundancy as thinking or feeling process, the process of redundancy is inherently one of logical thinking, so feeling people naturally feel uncomfortable”
So I pondered this statement, because I had been through numerous organisational changes, and actually had never felt uncomfortable with the process. So was my type indicator wrong? Was I not a true feeling type? Well no, of course not, that assumption would be too simplistic.
I realised that organisational change and reductions in numbers of staff in themselves wasn’t a big deal for me. Not because I don’t care about the people involved in the process and the impact on them. On the contrary, I realised it wasn’t a big deal for me, because I did care about the people involved and made sure I did everything I could to reduce or cushion the impact on my employees.
Now that’s not to say everyone I have managed through the process has been happy with what was happening. I am guessing there are very few of us who are threatened with potential or actual loss of their livelihood who would feel happy. But what can be done is to help them through the process.
Employee relations are key
With some managers and HR practitioners; employee relations in the context of organisational change especially reductions in staff or hours, is synonymous with the trade unions. But it is much more, and there are lots of great managers and practitioners out there who know this.
Yes, there is a process to be gone through and legislation and regulations to adhere to, but here are my top tips for a manager or HR professional who may be taking someone through any change which is going to impact adversely on their working life.
I know, I know, all of this sounds time consuming. But honestly it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is genuinely appreciate and care about your people and it will come naturally. It is better to use the time during the organisational change productively and positively than deal with unnecessary stress and disputes.
Later in the week, I have a brilliant guest blogger who has taken their organisation through significant change in a tough unionised environment with a great result. Watch this space!
What do you think? Do you have any strategies to help people through difficult changes? We would love to hear from you.
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