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Building an Organisation for the 'New Normal'

Building an Organisation for the ‘New Normal’

A brief guide to restructuring for success

Many organisations are having to make painful redundancy decisions as they restructure for a post-pandemic future. But how can you ensure that the result is not costly, long-term, self-inflicted damage?

Making the wrong decision may generate huge costs over the longer term.

Experience shows that making knee-jerk decisions whilst restructuring invariably impacts on the organisation’s long-term performance.

Quite simply, this is because organisations will often make decisions based on perceived short term necessity rather than factoring in their longer-term needs. Whilst unfortunate, restructuring is actually often an opportunity to reinvent the organisational structure and skills configuration for enhanced future success.

Strategic questions to ask:

  • Do you have an organisational vision, and values and competencies aligned with the business strategy?
  • Is your organisational structure optimised for future requirements? A review of your organisation’s ‘spans and layers’ may be appropriate in ensuring that reporting lines and layers are properly optimised. Is your organization lean or has over time the organisational structure become too complex? Is your organisation’s decision-making agile and timely?
  • Use the opportunity to review the existing talent in the business through capability reviews as well as past performance. Do you really understand the capability and future potential of your team?
  • Would your staff benefit from job redesign? Are their skills and capabilities fully utilised?
  • Understand where existing skills need changing or are missing. For example, can your leaders actually lead change? Are they able to lead remote teams? Can your employees cope with long-term remote working?
  • How does your organisation compare with your competitors? Are you really agile and efficient?
  • Are internal lines of communication working properly? Are the two-way performance feedback lines in place and working effectively?

An Effective Solution

If the checklist above raises questions, then you are in good company. Many organisations have made changes to their internal structure without considering how performance is going to be improved or at least maintained.

Our method for advising on client restructures is to take a strategic approach:

  • Benchmark the current organisational ‘state’ against accepted best practice and against your competitors. What looks good today will almost certainly not do so in the ‘newly normal’.
  • Take a long, hard assessment of whether or not the organisation is aligned with its business strategy and with the macro business environment. Take the opportunity to lead an organisational redesign focused on optimising performance. Truly smart organisations place a heavy emphasis on this in exactly the same way as they prioritise lean initiatives.
  • Carry out a ‘spans and layers’ analysis and, if appropriate, consider a radical structural redesign of the organisation designed to improve efficiency and productivity.
  • When reviewing staff, look at their capability and potential. Our experience of leading capability reviews shows that restructuring is an opportunity to improve the capability by ensuring future skills are truly aligned with the business.
  • When reviewing staff look at whether or not their talents are being fully utilised. Better utilisation of skills, role redesign and job enrichment will invariably improve performance.
  • Put in place a communications plan specifically designed to support the restructure and to maintain staff morale.
  • Implement learning & development for ‘survivors’ to equip them for the new normal.
  • In our experience outplacement for departing colleagues helps to maintain job engagement with ‘survivors’ and will reduce the incidence of ‘survivor syndrome’ amongst remaining staff. And, as always, never underestimate the importance of looking after your people.


During these difficult times it is vital that your organisation is optimised for future performance. This may not be the way the organisation has been configured in the past. Moreover, the skills profile in the organisation may need to change along with individual roles and responsibilities.

Our clients almost always achieve a rapid return on investment by following our strategic approach to their future.

Can we help you?

For more information call Phil Boyle on 02380 236944 or email him at pboyle@ramseyhall.com

Phil Boyle is The OPG’s Managing Director and has recruited extensively at board, senior and specialist levels for high profile charities and FTSE 100 companies.

Since 1991 The OPG has worked with clients to maximise business performance and improve employee effectiveness. Our work ranges from online psychometric assessment solutions and complex organisational development projects to leadership consulting and 360 feedback.

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