Nike, Disney, Expedia, and Nissan are just a few organizations to make recent headlines for their restructuring efforts. While it’s too soon to comment on the outcome of these specific initiatives, executive shakeups and other organizational changes often fall short of expectations.
As Forbes contributor Benjamin Laker put it in a recent piece, “While these changes might improve these businesses in some ways, they’re likely to be detrimental to the employee experience—because leadership shakeups and redesigns are naturally fraught with stress and uncertainty—increasing disengagement, decreasing productivity, and reducing company culture.”
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three common reasons why restructures fail and what you can do to avoid them.
- Culture. Almost every company recognizes the critical role culture plays in keeping employees engaged and motivated, yet there is often a disconnect between corporate culture efforts and the employee experience. Case in point, 45 percent of workers in a recent survey feel that leadership isn’t committed to improving the company culture. Laker writes, “To remain competitive and profitable there needs to be greater emphasis on leadership’s role in culture building, especially in times of executive departures.” A big part of this comes down to embodying core values. For example, if transparency is a central component of your organization’s culture, it’s important that executives be as open as possible throughout the restructuring process.
- Disengagement. Employee disengagement is another reason many restructuring efforts flounder. People have a natural desire to feel valued and recognized for their contributions, and can easily become detached from their work and responsibilities if these expectations aren’t met. Add to this the anxiety and confusion that typically accompanies a restructure and it’s not hard to see that disengagement can become a major impediment. According to Laker, “Research demonstrates that establishing a culture that is rooted in recognition increases engagement across an organization because employees know what’s essential to the company and feel appreciated for acting in ways that uphold those core values…The act of recognizing is available to everyone and has an outsized impact on engagement.”
- Productivity. If there is a cultural misalignment or feelings of disengagement, it follows that productivity will decline. When employees feel supported and included, they’re much more inclined to do their best work and remain loyal to the company even amidst times of changes. As such, it’s important that leaders address the variables outlined above and take other steps to demonstrate their appreciation for their employees—or risk plummeting productivity rates.
As Laker puts it, “Fostering a culture comprising values aligned with both the company and its employees—and then continuously reinforcing those values through thoughtful attention, sets an organization up for robust resilience during times of change.”
Check out his article here for more on how you can avoid restructuring pitfalls and keep your employees happy, productive, and engaged.