Unfortunately, corporate restructuring is part and parcel of business. Emerging technologies are challenging established industries, causing once untouchable institutions to cut jobs and rethink how they do things.
In November 2015 alone, we saw Lloyds TSB announce that a further one thousand jobs were expected to be cut as part of a three year digitalization strategy, and Barclay's CEO, Antony Jenkins, to state that the banking industry is facing its 'Uber moment'. After a sustained period of weak demand, Rolls-Royce's new boss also outlined plans for a major restructuring initiative - set to impact a number senior management officials.
While restructuring initiatives are almost inevitable now, surviving them gracefully, and without alienating the people you've kept on, is a great challenge. If redundancies threaten to cut through established teams and close employee relationships, a siege mentality can emerge, which, at its worst, can cause industrial action. This was evident in the strikes made by London Underground workers amid plans to remove ticket offices.
Even those who aren't overly concerned about their colleagues losing their jobs will feel unsettled. Not only is their workload likely to change, there also might be an overriding sense that they or somebody they are close to, are next. It causes people to question their options, as organizational optimism quickly disintegrates into pessimism.
So if you're in this position, what should you do? First, remember that redundancies aren't personal, or necessarily a reflection of performance. You might be the best bank clerk in the world, but if Lloyds TSB has set its mind on replacing you with a machine, there's not much you can do. Listen to senior management, and, however difficult, try to understand their perspective and why cutting jobs was necessary.
Transition might also present opportunities for workers to get more involved with the company. Not only will this help them develop their skills, it could also help pave the way for future promotions - although unlikely in the short-term. This approach is especially important for employees who are fearful of losing their position in another job cut. As pointed out before, performance isn't always linked with redundancy, but those who standout within the transitional phase put themselves in a strong position.
You might hear people say: 'if they are unhappy they can always move on!' If only that were true. Redundancies often hit people nearing the end of their career, where pensions, not to mention the challenge of finding a job, heighten the severity of a job loss.
Restructuring might be inevitable, but it's up to the company to make sure that everyone is treated well, so that there is a sense that the company can emerge a stronger force.