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Restructuring Presentation for Senior Administrators’ Forum: University Information Services June 2008 Sue Clegg University Librarian and Director of Learning Services Roehampton University
Background • Experience of being restructured/observing restructuring • Experience of leading restructuring • Current HR experience
Restructuring examples • Faculties to Schools • Creating and dismantling converged information Services • Cuts and redundancies
Restructuring • Structures are essentially arbitrary and an attempt to put some rationale into managing an organisation. • Often said that the first thing new managers do is to restructure. • Restructuring can be simple or complex • Restructuring - would changing the culture be better?
Reflections • “Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better” (King Whitney Jr. ).
Why restructure? Some Potentially Positive reasons • To change culture? • To fit the organisation’s overall structure? • Organic evolvement? • Providing new opportunities? • To change work flows/patterns/services? • Succession planning
Why restructure? • • • Some Potentially Negative reasons To fix problems? To downsize? Because you can/ to shake things up? To make your mark? To get rid of people who are underperforming or you just don’t like?
Issues to consider • • • Identifying the problem/reason/rationale for the new structure Setting objectives for the restructuring Involvement of stakeholders Staff perceptions Scale of the restructuring Cycles of restructuring and therefore cynicism Time involved (often against short timescales) Time for retraining, trial periods and settling new structures Evaluation of the changes
Issues to consider 2 • • People Emotions Looking objectively Institutional agreements and processes Management buy in outside the Library/IS Customer buy in outside the Library/IS Think about the whole process at the outset
Issues to consider 3 • Be clear about proposed structure • Think through potential redundancies at early stage • Look at worst case costing scenarios for voluntary redundancies/early retirements • Write new job descriptions at early stage • Process for getting everything in place (ring fencing of posts, promotion posts, interviews, options) • Planning in your diaries
What not to do Don’t: • Assume that restructuring is the only thing you have to do – it only addresses one aspect of an organisational problem • Restructure in order to get individuals ‘out’ instead of performance management (temptation) • Think it is a quick fix • Communicate badly • Assume that someone else is handling part of the process • Avoid planning the whole process before you start • Let staff believe that it is not a real consultation
Order of events
Stakeholder buy in • • Planning – who needs to know in what order Briefing – be as open as possible Consultation – be open to possible changes Individual consultations/drop in sessions Communication of outcomes Communication of implementation Understand resistance, transition curve and manage them
Briefing sessions • Outline whole process – to whom? • Have more detailed sessions for most affected staff • Be clear about what posts are to be deleted and what new options there are • Be clear about ring fencing/slotting in/selection of posts • Offer possible timetable, subject to consultation • Drop in sessions – provide times up front
What works well • • Planning Honest information Good paperwork (opportunities to check HR paperwork help!) Being able to withstand challenges on the rationale Well briefed line managers Really being prepared to change during consultation Being prepared to say you don’t know all the answers at the outset and that it is evolving • Being clear about givens and where things are pilots • Assessing risks of restructuring and not restructuring
What works badly • Poor preparation and rush • Not being able/prepared to give whole picture –one hand tied behind back! • Having weak rationale • Having some line managers undermining it through lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, inherent disagreement • When a number of different agendas come together because of circumstances • Not thinking through the whole process • Errors in individual letters!
Transition curve • Analytical tool • How staff react at a time of change • Stages of Emotional responses and how these may affect staff performance at work • The model shows a single process, but staff may be in multiple processes at different stages • Managers need to understand the stages and to make time for their staff during them
Summary • Change in universities and their LIS is a constant • All staff in change will be somewhere on transition curve, including you • Restructuring is a very common tool to manage change, but has pros and cons • Managed well, restructuring can be relatively smooth and neutral if not positive • Managed badly it can be a huge stress for managers as well as for staff • Restructuring problems can be created in HR, so make friends with HR in advance and give them time • Best advice: think of your own response to restructuring and do as you would be done by.
Quote “The future belongs not to those who want to be comfortable or avoid risk, but to those who are inspirational and just do it. ” (Lynne Brindley).