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Restructuring - Not to be a Tick-box Exercise

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Restructure should not be a tick-box exercise that leaves individuals feeling like that were just a number.

Businesses and organisations continue to announce lays-off to adjust their staffing levels and better balance growth and profitability. This is happening not only in New Zealand but also globally: 

We continue to see personal grievances, legal actions, disgruntled staff, and reputational damage arising out of restructures that are not done right. A shop worker awarded $40k after an unjustified dismissal, said that if there was an economic reason to end her employment, a fair and reasonable restructuring process would have been in place which did not happen in her case. 

Let's get this right

Firstly we need to get back to the basics – What does good faith actually mean? 

  • To be open and communicative 
  • To share all relevant information 
  • To not be misleading or deceptive 

To ensure the obligations of good faith in your restructure, it must have (1) substantive justification and (2) procedural fairness. 

Restructure should not be a tick-box exercise that leaves individuals feeling like that were just a number. Think of your affected employees and how they will feel as a person.  

Make sure: 

  • You give careful thought to the rationale for restructuring – demonstrate that the changes can be directly linked to the initial problem 
  • You introduce and present the proposal with an open mind and without the outcome being wholly predetermined  
  • You genuinely consult with the employees and consider their feedback 
  • You actively identify and genuinely consider redeployment options 

Get Creative!

Some other options short of redundancy: part-time roles or flexible shifts, independent contracting, vacant roles in other locations, voluntary redundancies, other roles that employees may have an interest in/ be able to perform.

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