As business conditions change, businesses -- if they are to continue to thrive -- sometimes also must change. Organizational restructuring is often necessary. Restructuring is difficult because it involves realigning jobs and work groups to fit the new strategy, and loyal employees may have no place in the resulting organization. Others may need to be retrained and to learn to adjust to a different environment. Human resources departments help design and implement such reconfigurations.

Business Purpose

The first question human resources should consider in any restructure is "Why?". Many restructurings are designed to cut costs. In these situations, jobs may be combined and new duties added to job descriptions. Some restructurings are undertaken for other reasons, such as rapid growth, a desire to move into new markets, opportunities for employee development or preparation for management succession. In these cases, human resources will help determine the new roles, capabilities and reporting relationships that will be needed, and develop a structure and all new job descriptions to accompany it.


Another factor to consider is how to reorganize the company to meet the new mission and goals. Human resources managers, along with the manager of each core function (accounting, manufacturing, sales, etc.), analyze processes to identify opportunities to increase customer service, eliminate waste or expand business opportunities. When processes cross departments, such as manufacturing and delivery, human resources facilitates communications between both department managers about ways to cluster services, according to the University of California at San Francisco.

Human Relations Issues

If layoffs are to occur, human resources ensures they will meet all the legal parameters -- for example, that the layoffs are being done without regard to race, age or disability. Human resources also must consider whether laid-off employees will be awarded severance pay and job search assistance. Another key factor to consider is aftercare -- how you will re-motivate retained employees. If new positions are to be created, recruitment and training must be planned.


During times of change, employees are often very anxious. If they don't receive correct information from human resources, they may receive incorrect information through the grapevine, and misinformation can heighten anxiety. Major changes, especially layoffs, are considered important news to the community, which includes your customers, suppliers and potential investors. Consider carefully what you will say to the local news outlets and when. In addition, consider how you will communicate on your social media channels. State your case without being defensive.