Restructuring - Not to be a Tick-box Exercise
Businesses and organisations continue to announce lays-off to adjust their staffing levels and better balance growth and profitability. This is happening not only in New Zealand but also globally:
- Xero announced their plans to cut nearly 800 jobs across its business
- Accenture plans to slash 19,000 jobs world-wide
- Potential changes in Health sector, New Zealand
We continue to see personal grievances, legal actions, disgruntled staff, and reputational damage arising out of restructures that are not done right. A shop worker awarded $40k after an unjustified dismissal, said that if there was an economic reason to end her employment, a fair and reasonable restructuring process would have been in place which did not happen in her case.
Let's get this right
Firstly we need to get back to the basics – What does good faith actually mean?
- To be open and communicative
- To share all relevant information
- To not be misleading or deceptive
To ensure the obligations of good faith in your restructure, it must have (1) substantive justification and (2) procedural fairness.
Restructure should not be a tick-box exercise that leaves individuals feeling like that were just a number. Think of your affected employees and how they will feel as a person.
- You give careful thought to the rationale for restructuring – demonstrate that the changes can be directly linked to the initial problem
- You introduce and present the proposal with an open mind and without the outcome being wholly predetermined
- You genuinely consult with the employees and consider their feedback
- You actively identify and genuinely consider redeployment options
Some other options short of redundancy: part-time roles or flexible shifts, independent contracting, vacant roles in other locations, voluntary redundancies, other roles that employees may have an interest in/ be able to perform.