Home > Perspectives > Human restructuring = squaring the circle?


by Akoya

For the companies that experienced the hardest hit by the current crisis, restructuring can be inevitable. Very often, it is necessary in order to cope with a collapse in turnover and cash flow that no longer allows cost structures to be supported.


Why shouldn’t we combine restructuring with the human factor? 

How can we guide our clients through this difficult period while remaining faithful to our ambition to transform companies with the employees, and not at their expense? Let’s try to juxtapose two terms that we rarely put next to one another: restructuring and human. For it is not because they are systematically opposed that we should simply resign to never seek a better balance between them.

For HR directors, it is crucial to remain at the center of the game during these decisive periods for the company and its employees. And not just being there to implement job adaptation plans. In order to weigh in on decisions and better manage human risks, it is necessary to present a detailed analysis of these risks to the management committees. And, secondly, to develop plans to mitigate these risks.


How to assess the impact of a restructuring plan on its employees?

What are the human risks? How to assess them? By identifying and measuring, for example, the hidden but real costs of downsizing, such as the disappearance of rare skills, the loss of talent or the employer brand. An analysis that is more difficult to make than adding up the payroll, but which is essential if you want to be strategic.

Once the risks have been weighed up, it is time for a reorganization plan. As a study summarized in the MIT Sloan Management Review demonstrates, rethinking an organization with the employees leads to better results in terms of performance and well-being.

A final illustration: monitoring the effects of restructuring on employees. In other words, one must observe its effects on the employee’s experience and take the pulse of the most concerned units, but also of all other employees. And ask yourself the right questions: what are the effects on commitment? Workloads? Performance? Absenteeism?


Conclusion: human restructuring is therefore possible. It is essentially a question of willingness on the part of management committees and the positioning of HRDs.