In the last week or so, we have read about the massive global restructuring projects about to be undertaken by both Malaysian Airlines (6,000 redundancies) and HSBC Bank (60,000 redundancies). Both of these announcements are transformational to the respective organisations and will have a profound impact upon the employees leaving the organisation, as well as those who remain.
Budget time is upon us and this will have implications for all levels of Government across Australia. With forecasted deficits due to declining tax revenues, the Commonwealth Government will seek to squeeze expenditure savings across all Departments and its allocations to States and Territories for items like health and education.
Organisational restructures are a catalyst of change; providing opportunities to improve efficiencies in the workplace and career prospects for employees. That is, if the restructure is managed effectively.
The problem is that by nature people are averse to change. Rather than seeing the opportunities that can arise from a restructure, employees are wired to perceive it as a threat.
We’ve provided outplacement services for many years, and it’s still surprising to come across organisations that have little idea about what good outplacement means today. As with many other organisations, this often stems from a simplistic view of the outplacement exercise, and the outcomes that should be expected of it.
A turbulent economic landscape and significant organisational change are both acute triggers for employee uncertainty. They are also both inevitable. As these circumstances arise, HR managers face a challenging paradox; to sooth employee uncertainty when they are often uncertain themselves.
At the end of the day, employees and employees alone, are responsible for their own career management and balanced lives.
Organisations, however big or small, good or bad, are inherently designed to get as much as they possibly can out of their employees. If an employee is not in the frame of mind to take control of a work-life balance they want to lead, then someone else will do it for them. And chances are, their ideas of ‘balance’ won’t align.
Over the course of 2014, we have surveyed numerous HR practitioners over all three levels of Government in an attempt to better understand the correlation between generational groups and reactions to change.
The findings from our research were validated by an article which appeared in last week’s AFR, ‘Gen Y’s work ethic is OK.’ It discussed Tamara Erikson’s own research into generational differences and how they will continue to impact the workplace. Erikson, a world leader in generational studies, has examined the impact of ‘influences’ on generations and the way they view the world.
I recently read an article by Alan Kohler which highlighted the technological revolution at our doorstep and the indiscriminate impact it will have on all forms of labour.
There is no denying that our employment landscape is radically changing. The normalisation of robots, 3D printing, and other super smart technological innovations in the workplace are slowly replacing human jobs. Their low cost, high productivity, and negligible margin for error are too compelling to resist and are increasingly becoming vital in order for businesses to stay competitive.
With a projected 16,500 public service jobs to be lost over the next three years, it is no wonder why many Government employees are riddled with uncertainty about what their future might hold.
At every level of Government, departments and their employees are confronted with unavoidable change, and the challenge for all employees is, ‘How prepared am I to change in order to adapt to a new role requiring new skills?’