Working Transitions

Inform, Educate...Redeploy - Keeping hold of key talent during a restructure

BBC Trust chairwoman Rona Fairhead has announced that she will step down early from her role and will not be applying to head up the corporation’s new governing body. Originally asked to remain in post until 2018, Ms Fairhead had been strongly encouraged by David Cameron to apply for the new role.

Her resignation comes ahead of a planned announcement to open the job up to other candidates coupled with Teresa May’s concerns about the skills required to drive the BBC forward and her doubt around Ms Fairhead’s suitability.

This abrupt ‘about turn’ was no doubt integral to Ms Fairhead’s decision to leave the corporation and has resulted in the BBC losing what some describe as a key talent who, had the process been handled differently, may have been retained or redeployed to another role within the corporation.

Most organisations will experience restructure at some point and of course you can’t always retain and redeploy everyone. It is vital however not to overlook your existing talent when considering best fit for alternative roles.

What steps can you take to ensure that key talent sticks around rather than heading out of the door at the first whiff of change?

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Of course some aspects of the change programme will be confidential but, where possible, share information and details of any potential restructure as soon as it’s viable. Nothing is more damaging in the workplace than ‘chinese whispers’ – if employees feel that decisions are being made without their involvement they will feel alienated and their default reaction may be to take flight. Remember too that for key talent, predators in the way of your competitors may be circling so work hard to keep engagement levels high.

If managers of affected departments have not been through the change process before consider whether coaching or training in this area may be of benefit.

Keep it positive

For many, the process of redeployment can be a really positive experience. If your organisation has been through the change process before, success stories from previous redeployees who are now successfully settled in an alternative role can be reassuring and inspiring. Think about incorporating these into your communication strategy.

Enabling employees to identify and explore their transferable skills – either through coaching, workshops or online tools – can be empowering and equip individuals for success in an alternative role within the organisation. Make sure too that hiring managers truly understand the value of transferability and how to properly assess skills at interview.

Introduce supporting measures early

A supportive and proactive approach to redeployment and redundancy is key to ensuring that the people that you want to keep see an internal move as a viable option. Ensure affected employees are made aware of the available support as early as possible and allow them time to understand, digest and fully utilise the package on offer.

Ensure that the support package is tailored to the workforce and offers support that will benefit all affected employees. Group workshops, seminars, individual sessions, telephone coaching, online tools – there’s lots available – whatever you decide to offer make sure it’s properly targeted to your workforce.

It’s also worth reviewing the process for internal applications – ensure this is as simple, clear and streamlined as possible and that every available job vacancy is properly communicated.  In times of stress a convoluted, difficult to navigate system can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back!

Plan ahead

Don’t just think about redeployment when you’re going through a period of change. Encourage a strong culture of internal mobility where employees are actively encouraged to move between departments  and experience different areas of the organisation. Encourage work shadowing and strong  inter-departmental communication as the ‘norm’. Not only will all employees have a far better understanding of internal opportunities within other departments but the whole organisation will benefit immeasurably from the increase in communication.


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Working Transitions
20 September 2016
Supporting effective and successful organisational change


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