Staff should be trained during restructuring, says study

During a merger or downsizing initiative, HR teams should focus on staff training

Training must play a significant role in organisations which are restructuring, according to a new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

This is particularly important because employees who remain at the organisation might have to complete tasks they are unfamiliar with and won't necessarily have had the required training.

Interestingly, the study found that there were no clear differences in the impact on well-being with or without job cuts.

Restructuring can include downsizing, closure, mergers, change in ownership or privatisation, or a combination of these.

However, not all employees experienced the negative effects. Indeed, some studies found there were positive changes over time which indicated a beneficial impact of restructuring or a recovery of well-being.

This was not common, however, with the majority of studies showing negative changes during the restructuring and post-restructuring period (regardless of any downsizing).

Moreover, less qualified employees are among those affected most negatively by restructuring. However, the problem was widespread.

Consequently, the review recommends more training for those involved in restructuring.

"Restructuring is a significant characteristic of working life in both private and public companies and a large part of the working population will face one, but probably more restructuring events in their career,” said co-author Karina Nielsen.

“Those employees who stay on at the organisation might have to do tasks they are not familiar with and they don't necessarily get the training. They need other competencies."

Nielsen added that the key point is how you manage the change, and it’s important to make sure people have control over their jobs and that there is good communication and the right kind of training.

"Organisations, managers, and employees should be supported in dealing with changes in a healthy way. For example, by training, coaching and other on-the-job programmes aimed at individual, group and management level, said Nielsen.

“Researchers and occupational and human resource management practitioners should work together in developing interventions and evaluating the intervention process and its impact on well-being and company results."

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