Redundancy and the employee experience

By Dr Lydia Cillié-Schmidt


Organisational restructuring has become a given in the modern workplace and is a necessary process to ensure that organisations remain relevant. Organisational restructuring usually affects the people, processes, systems, technologies, functions, rewards and so on in the organisation. It may or may not result in jobs being redundant. According to the CIPD, redundancy can be one of the most distressing events an employee can experience and as such, it requires sensitive handling by the employer to ensure fair treatment of the redundant employee as well as the productivity and morale of the remaining workforce.

Whether there is redundancy involved in restructuring or not, restructuring’s impact on people should still be managed carefully. Researchers from Norwich Business School and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), found that restructuring in organisations has a mainly negative effect on the welfare of employees regardless of whether there are job losses. The researchers found no clear differences in the impact on well-being of employees between restructuring with and without cutting staff numbers.

In their book “The Employee Experience: How to Attract Talent, Retain Top Performers, and Drive Results”  Tracy Maylett  and Matthew Wride define the employee experience (EX) as the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work as expressed in the following formula: EX = Experiences + Expectations + Perceptions. Jacob Morgan in his book “The Employee Experience” defines the employee experience as “the intersection of employee expectations, needs, and wants and the organizational design of those expectations, needs, and wants”.

It is clear that restructuring has a major impact on the perceptions and experiences of employees, those affected by the cutting of jobs and those staff members that remain behind – not forgetting management and the HR people who must execute the process. Handling the process of redundancy effectively and with compassion can have a positive impact on the organisation’s reputation and performance, as well as the employee experience. Elise Greene Margol mentions in an article (TD @Work learning & development Vol. 34, Issue 1701, January 2017, Microlearning to boost the employee experience) that many argue that the employee experience is as important as that of the customer, because having happy employees often equals having happy customers. In this regard she quotes Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”

Don’t let the way in which you do restructuring let you lose in the workplace!

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