Announcing a Reorganization to Employees
A reorganization can be effective in turning your company into a more efficient, productive, profitable enterprise. Although you might have done your best to keep the plans a secret, some employees probably suspect that a reorganization is underway and might have concerns. It’s best to allay these concerns by announcing the reorganization as soon as plans are complete.
Planning and preparation will help you ensure that you’re prepared to handle any reaction or question after you make the announcement. Expect that employees will have questions about the status of their jobs, benefits, vacation time and other issues. Write a list of questions you expect and prepare answers to each question. Some answers might take some research, such as what will happen to pension plan funds after reorganization. Employees might view the reorganization in a more positive light if you can answer questions at the meeting, rather than delaying answers until you can research an issue.
Whether you announce the reorganization at a meeting or in a written notice, it’s important to be truthful about all aspects of the reorganization. Employees eventually will find out the truth if you lie, and then you’ll have to face disgruntled, bitter staffers. Explain the positive aspects of the reorganization, such as reduction in debt, increase in profits or better customer service. Explain how the reorganization will proceed and list approximate dates for each step. Give employees information about new reporting relationships, explain how changes will affect them directly and ask if they have questions or concerns.
Job security is likely to be the chief concern of your employees. If the reorganization plan involves layoffs, inform those employees as soon as possible. The Wall Street Journal recommends that you make swift cuts. Terminating people during the course of several weeks can affect employee morale and productivity. Explain to employees what types of benefits or assistance terminated employees will receive when you make your announcement. As part of the reorganization announcement, tell employees how many positions have been eliminated and when those cuts will take place.
Reorganizations often take months or years to complete. Although your initial communication with employees is a good start, it’s important to continue to talk to employees as reorganization plans proceed. If you don’t keep employees informed, they might begin to gossip about what’s taking place, and most of that gossip might be inaccurate. Regular communication ensures that everyone knows what’s going on and when the next step will occur. If you plan to move employees to other locations, be sure to inform them of that fact well in advance. They’ll need sufficient time to make transportation plans and address other concerns related to the move.