It can be harder than you think to hold your company together during a massive organizational shift. Aside from the many other details that are likely on your mind, you also have to pay close and special attention to how your employees are feeling about the change. This is much harder than it sounds, especially if the organizational change is related to a merger or you are in a position where you have to restructure and lay off employees. Here's how to keep everything together.
Have A Plan
Don't just assume that you can go ahead with your idea for a different organizational structure and everything will work out. It's practically guaranteed that there will be bumps along the way, no matter how easy the change may seem. Formulating a plan before you start making any changes is key to helping the transition process go as smoothly as possible. Know what your end organization goal is and carefully plan out the steps that will get you there. Formulate this plan into manageable steps and ensure all of management is committed to making it work.
Keep Employees Informed
During a major change and especially if that change is a merger with another company, you simply must keep all employees informed about the situation. Fear and misinformation can wreak havoc upon your organization's productivity and morale. No employee likes feeling like they're being kept in the dark and they may grow resentful if they feel management doesn't trust them. Take the time to ensure your employees are told about the reorganization as soon as it's being considered. Give them a copy of the transition plan as soon as it is formulated and continue to keep your employees informed as the transition process gets underway. They'll thank you for it.
Ask For Their Input
One of the best ways to continue to feel like a team during a major transition is to ask your employees for their input. Employees truly value the opportunity to feel like their opinions matter. Asking for their input about the proposed changes will help ensure your new organizational structure is more ideal for your business and your employees are happy with it. Your staff may have some very solid, creative suggestions that could improve the entire process. This change affects everyone, so everyone should have their say. You can solicit input by putting out a survey or encouraging employees to come to your office and speak with you.
Reinforce Your Values
During an organizational change is when you need to ensure your company's values shine the brightest. You need to have a clear image of your company's identity and its mission. You can't just assume that your employees know or even care about your values, either. You have to truly lead by example and display your values every day while on the job. Reinforcing your values during this turbulent time will reaffirm team mentality and what kind of company you want to be after the reorganization is complete.
Take Emotions Into Account
The fact of the matter is, no matter how logical the decisions management has made about this organizational change are, you will also have to deal with the emotional response of your employees. This is especially true if you are downsizing and having to lay off staff. Listen to your employees and understand what they are feeling. Do everything in your power to address their concerns and then work with them to rebuild the company successfully.
Get Outside Help
There are a number of consulting firms and training services that can help your company through a difficult transition. This option should be pursued if internal efforts are not being successful. For example, you could put yourself, your executives and your management team through specialized negotiation training to ensure the best possible outcome for your employees during a merger. There are also consultancy firms that help companies handle the negative emotions, such as fear and confusion, that employees usually feel during layoffs and restructuring.
An organizational change at any business, for whatever reason, is a major undertaking. It is very important to have a solid plan, good communication with your employees and strong values to propel your company forward. You have to consider the impact this change will have on your workforce and how it can help your team emerge stronger than ever before.