<i>Dear Workforce</i> Our Firm Is Reorganizing--How Do We Smooth the Transition

May 7, 2004
A Dear Grabbing the Reins:

One question that immediately springs to mind: What's the status of the other manager? Will this individual remain with the company, or be let go? The answer affects your reorganization strategy. If the individual remains, make sure your transition deals gently with this manager's changed role.
Focus your time line on the reasons for the change: namely, that your company is trying to improve. Emphasize to your workforce that the changes aren't associated with plans to reduce head count. You don't want employees wondering, "Are they making these changes because I'm not performing well?"
Articulate the benefits provided by the new system. A sample narrative might read:
"As everyone is aware, we're converting to ABC system. This new technology will change how we do business and improve our ability to enter data quickly and accurately, service customers reliably and efficiently, measure and report our productivity, and reduce costs."
Tell your workforce how things are specifically changing from an operational perspective. For example:
"Accountability for achieving customer-service milestones presently resides with our account management department. The overall strategic plan shifts that accountability to the operating group(s) responsible for delivering service. In the new process, all customer-service agents serving the Midwest report to Jane Doe (include an organization chart with job titles). Jane oversees the prioritization, execution and quality of service delivery for all accounts."
When companies make a decision to implement a major technology upgrade, a project plan is created and time frames for the various phases are specified. For example: "ABC project must have analysis completed by June 15, 2003, with programming completed by July 25, 2003," and so on. Upgrades often are coordinated with a company's business strategy, such as a product launch or new service offering. If there's a project manager assigned, he or she should furnish this information. If possible, expose your people to the new technology before the organizational change takes place. Ideally, if they get trained on the new system, and the timing gets coordinated optimally with the restructuring, they won't feel overwhelmed.
SOURCE: Patrick Graves,Bristol Consulting Group, University City, Missouri, May 21, 2003.
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from federal law.
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