July 27, 2017

What should I do if my company announces a “Restructuring”?

By Tim Knight, Vice President, Banking

With the economy growing and unemployment at its lowest levels since before the Great Recession of 2008, we have not heard of many companies needing to restructure or the need for the dreaded reduction in force. In recent weeks, we have talked with professionals whose situations have changed due to their companies need to make necessary organizational changes through restructuring and in one instance those changes led to layoffs.

When you hear your company is about to announce a restructuring plan it may cause some anxiety due to the uncertainty and the unknown. Here are a few suggestions:

Don’t Panic

Remember that restructuring isn’t a new thing and many successful businesses that have gone through it even thrived once the process is complete. Though the process of restructuring contains elements of the unknown, sometimes unexpected factors are exactly what one needs to reassess their priorities, values, and career goals. Millions of professionals have survived, and even benefited from restructuring in one way or another. The best approach to navigating a restructuring requires remaining focused on your current professional obligations while also preparing to pivot should circumstances change.

Be Realistic and Open 

Too often, people react poorly to news of a restructuring by going into denial or overreacting – both of which are hardly productive. When news of a restructuring becomes public, employees can undermine their professional reputations and networking prospects by gossiping or complaining. Keep in mind, companies go through these changes to insure the long term viability and continuation of the business which is an important role of leadership.

Being realistic means acknowledging that change is happening, and that the parameters of that change are often undisclosed until they are being implemented. This feeling of powerlessness will be disconcerting; however, many changes in the structure of a company are directly related to changes in the marketplace. If you are prone to worry, try to only worry about the things you can control.

Educate Yourself 

Every professional is responsible for their own career. When a company announces plans to restructure, it’s every employee’s responsibility to research their options and determine their best course of action. Seek counsel from those you trust that have been through similar uncertainty in their careers. They can not only offer much needed encouragement but tactical suggestions on how to navigate through the uncertainty.

Another point of contact for you should be a trusted recruiter specializing in your market. Ask your network for referrals of search firms they have worked with and trusted over the years. Remember just like any industry, there are many great recruiters and many “not so great” ones too. In times of restructuring, working with a reputable recruiter offers the benefit of networking, industry knowledge, and years of experience dealing with the ups and downs of the marketplace.

Experienced recruiters have seen it all before, as they know that a disciplined and mature assessment of individual circumstances is the best approach to dramatic shifts in a person’s career. Often times recruiters see opportunities in times of uncertainty, and can often help you turn a potential setback into your next best opportunity.

In short, if this happens to you, don’t panic. Change always happens for a reason and many times the change in position or company will turn out be the right next move for you and your career.