Company re-organizations come in all shapes and sizes. Some involve reconfiguring the org chart while others invite more extensive changes like cutting positions and restructuring work spaces. Whatever the size and scope of your re-org, these changes are always emotionally charged for staff. Successfully marketing your re-org in a way that keeps your team feeling comfortable about the changes and confident about their future with your company tests management’s communication and leadership skills.
You want your staff to feel at ease and engaged in this exciting transition. Here’s how to win them over:
Have a Well-Mapped Plan
A re-org presents a leadership team with the opportunity to engage staff in a newly orchestrated professional vision. This is powerful. So make every effort fully map out a plan and timeline before beginning any related initiatives. Know that staff will evaluate the re-org itself as the first indicator of the potential success of the new plan. If the re-org goes quickly and smoothly, your staff will feel more confident about the changes ahead. If they don’t know what to expect and their confusion goes on for a long stretch, they are going to bring this sense of confusion and stress into the new paradigm.
Recognize Inevitable Anxiety
To your staff, the re-org probably feels like a home remodel they didn’t commission; it hinders their ability to accomplish their daily tasks and it threatens to take longer than projected. It’s hard for them to put their re-org anxiety on the back burner when they are operating in a temporary space or they are not sure who’s supposed to sign off on what. Understandably, this makes them anxious and uncomfortable.
Be Ready to Offer Reassurance
Unlike with a home remodel, your staff doesn’t have a blueprint for this reconstruction. They need their leaders to share those big-picture details. They need assurance that they will retain a place of value once the dust settles. They need to know that their leaders believe in these changes. They need assurance that this time of temporary discomfort will yield worthwhile results.
Layoffs are deeply unsettling to staff. If this needs to happen, do it as early as possible in the re-org process and do it all at once. Then communicate that this phase has been completed, and let staff know that there won’t be additional departures.
Share the Vision
While you may not be able to share all the details of the new arrangement, share the overarching vision with your team. Talk about the goal shaping these changes; for example, if the main objective is to create a smooth workflow that will improve the response time when it comes to reaching your customers, make sure they understand this.
Foster Routine Communication
The American Institute of Stress reports that “increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.” There may be many factors in this situation that you can’t alter. But if your team knows that every Tuesday morning they get the chance to talk about this re-org, then they will feel a greater sense of control over the many unknowns that now dominate their professional reality. During this time of upheaval, create a regular informational and outlet session that they can count on. Then stick to it. This gives them a feeling of control and a sense of normality.
Acknowledge That It’s a Big Deal
If you want your staff to weather the course along with you, then discuss it. Let them vent. Tell them what you know. Even if you don’t have much to report in the way of “re-org news” let them talk about their life in limbo. In the absence of official information, they will start circulating their own. You don’t want that. Gossip mill news is a threat to the success of your project.
Sure there are unknowns, but your team has the chance to create something new together. Share your confidence and enthusiasm around that. Your team is looking to you for emotional cues and guidance. So assure them that – despite any hiccups that may come along – you believe in this change.