What is a Hard Restructuring Process?

A Hard Restructuring Process is a profound and usually agonizing Change Process in an Organization. Frequently severe and rigorous measures and actions need to be decided and executed to secure the organization’s future. This causes pain and turmoil in the organization.

Generally it comes along with a period of great insecurity causing fear and concern among the population. This is also due to a regrettable time lag between the announcement of severe and rigorous measures and the moment when they are put in concrete terms and executed.

The success of a Hard Restructuring Process depends on the ability to rapidly implement and accomplish the necessary tough measures in the organization. Only then are the organization’s members able to move out of the valley of tears and propel towards their future.

Hard Restructuring Generic Roadmap

Phases Process
Phase 1 

Hard Restructuring Decision

  • Organizations Top Mgmt. decides for the Hard Restructuring.
  • Intention can be announced or kept secret.
  • Team is appointed to work on the Intent.
Phase 2
Workout Restructuring Plan
  • The Project Team analyses the As Is situation and develops a draft As Should situation for the Decision Maker.
  • Actions and measures to get to the As Should are defined.
Phase 3 

Pre Announcement

  • Impact of the Intent is evaluated (who will be impacted and how severely? Winners and losers of the Intent!)
  • Development of flanking change management support for the announcement and transition
  • On boarding and preparation of the affected, relevant Management
Phase 4 


  • Prepare and orchestrate Announcement. (1. Mgmt., 2. Workers Council, 3. Employees …)
  • Prepare processing  possibilities for the affected target groups
  • Be prepared for the worst for the next time. (Suicide intents etc.)
Phase 5 

Short-term and  Adhoc Measures

  • Management is present to discuss and process the Hard Restructuring Measures with their employees.
  • Mgmt is tangible and very attentive to employees. Are there untypical behaviors etc.
  • Run Managing Transition Work-shop Program to prepare Mgmt for the Transition Dynamics.
Phase 6 

Transition Measures

  • Concretize and execute the effects for the individuals and the organizational entities.
  • Regularly hold meetings in the executive Mgmt Team on the process and the feedback from the organization.
  • Prepare Managers for Lay Off Talks
  • Coping Workshops for affected employees

Navigating through the Change Curve of a Hard Restructuring Process

Risks in a Hard Restructuring Process

  • Enunciator does not feel well equipped for the task of the announcement. Their appearance / speech could have a negative impact on how the Leadership is perceived in the organization.
  • Managers might feel overburdened / incompetent to handle the upcoming tasks, the restructuring process and its impacts
  • Employees will feel demotivated. As a consequence disengagement and performance drops will impact both culture and business
  • Protests / Manifestations against the intent might arise
  • HR is not sufficiently equipped / staffed / trained to manage the HR process appropriately.
  • Works Councils might be inexperienced or feel not considered and therefore difficult to negotiate with.

Why is CM so important in Hard Restructuring?

  • The success of a Hard Restructuring Process stands and falls with the active support of the key players. Managers, team leaders etc. are the greatest lever the organization possesses to stay in contact and influence the staff. Change Management concentrates on getting them on board and supports them in performing their leadership challenge.
  • Profound and painful changes cause irritations, uncertainty and fear. These then lead to emotions, resistance, unwillingness and conflicts Managers have to deal with.
  • Change Management focuses on the arising emotions. It’s the emotions that are often not or too little considered in change intents.
  • CM provides the appropriate means to process and cope with the changes on an individual, group and organizational level, as well as management training and preparation for the effects they will face.
  • Collect feedback from the organization for the decision makers which allow them to consider the reality in the organization and to adapt their directions to it.

Objectives & Benefits of CM Support

  • Help employees manage the transition period between announcement and the completion of the integration in order to:
  • Minimize impact on productivity, safety and day-to-day business
  • Facilitate a smooth, seamless integration for all stakeholders
  • Support managers to handle effects & consequences of transition
  • Equip leaders to communicate face-to-face with employees about tough choices required to drive growth in the future
  • Tailor actions to the needs of each Unit or team (in collaboration with for example Management and HR)
  • Build acceptance for change and help improve retention