Restructures require careful Change Management. These are the top 7 dangerous mistakes leaders make when they restructure a team that cost staff engagement and performance.

#1 Fatally forgetting to engage an outplacement / transition expert

Your HR team are experts in the policies and procedures of Human Resources. But are they experts in transforming fear into confidence? Losing your job is amongst the top 10 most stressful life events - and it’s what most employees expect will happen when a restructure is announced. Hiring an expert to support your people through their restructure, whether big or small, is essential.

#2 Relying on a corporate expert, not a personal holistic expert

What comes up for your people during an operating model change isn’t the logic of CVs and job descriptions - their psychology jumps straight to catastrophic fear and consequences that could flow into their whole life. They’re going to lose their job… and without money, their home, their families, and their identity... they won’t be able to put food on the table, or pay the bills, or fund their kids’ schooling, or their retirement. And while they are plotting the collapse of their life, they aren’t focusing on the job at hand or the possibilities of the future. A corporate expert is often tunnel-visioned to get someone to their next career step, not their next life step. An immersive transformational program that helps an employee reframe their job as just one aspect of their entire life and identity is the key to maintaining loyalty, morale & productivity through your operating model change.

#3 Ignoring the second wave of staff departures by survivor employees

Most restructure programs focus on the immediate first wave of staff changes, and don’t acknowledge that the loss of staff morale, engagement and confidence leads to an unintended second wave of staff departures in the next 6-12 months. Key leaders, key talent and key industry knowledge may be lost to competitors, with difficulties in backfilling lasting months, or even years. This costs your company dearly in recruitment and onboarding time. Staff who are clear on what they actually want now are your greatest asset.

#4 Failure to separate the career transition service from the organisation

You are trying to balance doing what’s right for your company with what’s right for its people. Letting your career transition service represent your organisation to your staff compromises the ability to create trust and truth. Your staff need to work with an independent, third-party organisation that represents them, not your company.

#5 Not breaking through fear

An outplacement or transition program that doesn’t dig into the root causes of fear and unconscious needs will never maintain loyalty, morale or productivity. Harnessing the power of Neuro-Linguistic Programming for employees to remap their own beliefs and goals at a deeper level will support your team's emotional wellbeing and stress, whilst delivering career clarity and confidence.

#6 Neglect to identify staff already on the way out

In every team at any time, there are employees already planning to leave, employees who have outgrown their role but don’t realise it, and employees with the attitude and motivation to stay. When a restructure is announced, almost all employees suddenly feel they have to scramble for a job - they feel powerless, that the choice has been taken out of their hands. You need someone who will remind employees of the reality of their situation before the announcement, to help some people find relief if a next step was already needed, and key talent to feel confident that your organisation is where they truly want to be.

#7 Fail to develop comfort with change for the long-term

Organisational change is ever-increasing. Yet, the comfort level of employees to accept change isn’t. Helping all employees become more comfortable with the idea of change generally will improve the undercurrent of change acceptance through the entire company, both now and into the future.

How many thousands of dollars has your company lost in staff engagement, morale and retention by not supporting your people properly through a restructure?