- Organisational Restructures & Position
The Potential Impact on the Organisation and its People
When organisations restructure and positions become redundant, organisations generally focus on the people who no longer have a job and usually assist those people financially and with such services as outplacement. What is often overlooked is the impact the restructure, the redundancies and people leaving, has on the organisation efficiency, productivity, and the people still employed.
The quality of the remaining relationships impacts at all levels of a business. When a restructure occurs many of the established relationships between coordination, efficiency, productivity and business outcomes/profit are broken. In addition, much of the shared understanding or background of obviousness is disrupted.
The people still employed
after a restructure can feel resentment...
When these relationships are severed, the people who remain often experience significant emotional reactions which when left unattended can lead to some deep seated moods such as, resentment, resignation and anxiety.
There are three key negative moods that can be identified as result of restructures and redundancies. These moods can have a significant negative impact on morale, safety and productivity. The three moods are as follows:
This is a mood we experience when we oppose things we believe we cannot change. Resentment accompanies anger and has a motivation for revenge. When relationships are severed, people who are left behind often become quite resentful at the organisation and/or key individuals who were responsible for "their friends" losing their jobs. Both the anger and revenge can be quite overt or subtle. It can show up in a range of responses from reluctance to cooperate through to theft or destruction of company property. The unfortunate simple fact is that being in a mood of resentment will not change anything except maybe impact negatively on your own circumstances and/or health.
This mood is where people develop a sense of helplessness or hopelessness. They can feel as though nothing they can do will make any difference. You can hear it in people's conversations:
"What's the point, the company is going bust."
"What's the point, they will just shut us down."
"What's the point, we will be sold off and the new owners will get rid of us."
"You're wasting your time; no one is going to care about you or your efforts."
Consequently people in a mood of resignation just simply give up!
This is a mood when people oppose uncertainty. When organisations are forced to restructure and reduce the number of positions and people, people left behind can become quite anxious for a number of reasons. Many are simply very uncomfortable with radical changes such as restructures. Others become anxious about their ability to continue in the reorganisation and others become very anxious about their own security both in their jobs, and for their family and mortgages etc. For some, this may show up as a short term increase in motivation and productivity but it is anxiety-driven and can lead to burn-out and stress. If left unchecked, anxiety can lead to significant health and safety issues, low morale and lost productivity.
The Way Forward
There are positive moods which impact significantly on productivity and business outcomes. They are as follows:
Acceptance or being peaceful with things we cannot change is a mood that serves us best for being able to leave the past behind, for declaring the past complete. Acceptance is the opposite of resentment. People who are stuck in resentment need help to move to acceptance. They need assistance to understand that if we cannot change the past then for our own well-being we need to accept this. Sometimes we may not accept what was done but we need to accept none the less, that it has been done.
Ambition motivates. It helps us say:
"I can make a difference."
"My efforts will make a difference."
"I am in control of my world."
"If I lose my job I can always get another."
My efforts will make a difference...
Wonder and/or curiosity
Wonder and/or curiosity are moods that serve us best in times of uncertainty. In times of uncertainty we don't know if things are going to be bad or not, but we often fear the worst, hence the anxiety. If in times of uncertainty we can simply be curious and wonder about how it will unfold we will be in a better position to confront issues as they arise.
Making the Shift
In our work here at Graeme J Schache, we typically find that the moods people are in are most often transparent to them. In order to assist people to make the transition from the negative to positive moods we must first show them the distinctions and the ensuing behaviours so as assist them to understand their own and others' moods, before we can help them with strategies to make the shifts.
From our experience, people have great difficulty making the shift without professional assistance. Through developing people's capacity to understand, shift and manage their moods and emotions, we are able to assist individuals, work groups and organizations to get back on track towards achieving their shared concerns and common goals in an effective and healthy manner.