Carrying out an effective restructure

Implementing a staff restructure can be difficult but, sometimes, it’s necessary – here’s some guidance on how to do it well

Restructuring is often an incredibly daunting task; it takes huge amounts of time and effort and involves risks, such as:

  • Will existing staff be upset by it?
  • Will it prove difficult to find the new staff I need?
  • Will all parts of this new structure work successfully together?
  • Will I end up back at square one?

These are valid concerns, but they don’t mean you shouldn’t pursue a restructure when it’s needed. At the ISBL conference, in December, Lorna Scully discussed various elements of restructuring, their implications and benefits. We went along to her talk to get an idea of how this process should, ideally, go.

Lorna stated that figuring out what you want or need to achieve is the first – and undoubtedly the most important – part of the process. Why are you considering a restructure? Is your current one no longer fit-for-purpose? Are you undergoing an expansion? Joining an MAT? Under-performing?

She recommended the following steps:

  • Figure out your reasons for the change.
  • Review the existing structure.
  • Develop the proposed new structure.
  • Consider the implications of the new structure.
  • And, finally, work out a detailed plan.

When reviewing your existing structure consider why aren’t you meeting your aims. Draw up a chart of the current structure and identify the issues. Be clear about the roles and responsibilities required at each point in the structure, and be clear on any costs. Assess current and future needs, and focus on the deficiencies that need addressing.

Now, identify the number of revised or new roles that will be required for the restructure – including identifying any roles that may need removing entirely. Based on the decisions you’ve made so far, you can categorise each role within your team as:

  • Not affected/no change.
  • Some changes to terms.
  • Reduced requirement.
  • No requirement.
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You’ve now reviewed your current structure, identified future needs and you know who you want and what they should do – now it’s time to focus on the legal implications of changing or eliminating any roles. This is something that will require an overview of contracts for each individual person, so that you can ensure any decisions you’ve made are bullet-proof should they take issue with them.

Once this is done, you can put together an information pack about the restructure, including all proposals, the rationale behind them and any costs attached, to ensure the SLT and governors are happy. Then, all that’s required is to implement the plan, which should start with you distributing the information packs to those who need them, and to launch consultations with the staff you’ve restructured. Importantly, at this point, ensure you give good, positive feedback, keep an open mind and address any concerns they may have.

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