We care about technology-enhanced human systems. So we thought we would share regular thoughts and opinions about why we think they matter so much.
Redeployment. It’s a word that’s got quite a sinister aura about it, hasn’t it? Redeployment. It conjures up images of frightened soldiers receiving new orders. Off to the second front old chap. Tally-ho and good luck! It reminds me of someone being sent to Siberia. Redeployed by a man in a big chair stroking a fluffy white cat.
The feeling is real though, isn’t it? The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as: The process of moving employees to a different job or sending them to work in a different place. Redeployment means change. And we’ve all had about as much change as we can take. Redeployment is uncomfortable. Of course, for the people who it’s happening to. But it’s also very disruptive for the people who work with them. And for the people who have to deliver the programme, redeployment can be incredibly stressful. Not to forget, the implications that this process can have on your employer brand. So much to do. And very often, so little time.
But redeployment is a growing reality in a world that is changing. And changing fast. And it’s a growing trend that needs handling with utmost planning and utmost care. Why? Over the last 18 months of the biggest global crisis since the second World War, the business landscape has shifted. Businesses are morphing from physical to online, from round the corner to in the cloud.
One of the biggest impacts on business is about to go stratospheric. Mergers and Acquisitions are on the rise. This year, M&A activity is predicted to ‘go into overdrive’, according to Morgan Stanley. Actually, if you look at the predictions from every investment bank, you can start to see not only green shoots of recovery, but hedge fund managers sharpening their shears in preparation for deals.
EY have released their 2021 Global Capital Confidence Barometer, dynamically entitled, ‘Will COVID-19 turbo-charge M&A and transformation?’ It’s all very dynamic isn’t it? Actually, all this male power-speak makes me very uneasy. Because it’s written for the C-Suite and the investor. Helping businesses transform and providing investors with a healthy financial playground to have fun in. Combine this with an economic forecast of 5.7% growth in UK GDP and we can all see those signs that disruptive change will be the next normal.
When you strip away the Wolf of Wall Street feeling, all of this is actually very positive. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for. Business is starting to build again. But for every action, there is always a reaction. And every M&A means a lot of change, pressure and uncertainty for everyone at every level. It means redeployment, change of contracts and transformation.
By their very nature, bringing two different businesses together creates cultural tension. Different ways of working, different leadership styles and even simple things like different contracts for similar roles naturally take time to change.
But in these moments of change, serendipity plays her part. Get redeployment right and your business can smoothly transition to the vision of the future. Get it wrong and the fall out can be far reaching. So let’s look at the different communities involved in redeployment and the implications of their actions.
Leaders are involved in the complex financial and legal aspects of any merger or acquisition. Their role is to lead by example. To cascade what’s happening, why and when with confidence and clarity. The excitement of the deal is not everyone’s excitement though and morally, leaders share a responsibility to be clear, transparent, honest and approachable during this time. They set the roadmap for the change and communicate where they are on the journey often. Making these messages as human as possible, even when they might be delivered through digital channels is crucial.
Managers communicate change. They are the voice of leadership and the ears of the employee. They need to keep business running as usual, even in unusual times. But Managers need both practical and emotional support. They need to communicate with clarity. They need to be strong. But they also need to be supported.
Every employee needs to know what’s happening and when. They need to clearly understand?why things are changing. And what the implications are for them and their friends in the next department. They also need access to support and advice should they need it.
Those identified as needing to be redeployed will be feeling the pressure of change the most. Uncertainty of the future is something all of us have sadly become accustomed to, but more change can mean more stress. Being clear about the reasons for redeployment and what the likely outcomes are is very important. Giving them access to the process and clear guidance on how to perform the process will make this difficult time a little more palatable. Even a simple change of contract needs to be handled in a timely fashion. Pay dates from one business might not match the other. But we all manage our finances around a certain pay day. So making sure even the simplest of change doesn’t have huge repercussions for employees is vital.
Customers will want to know the reasons you are doing what you are doing. They will observe how you behave during this programme of change and judge their future custom on this alone. Customer trust that has been built over years can be eroded in seconds if they believe you don’t have your employees best interests at heart.
Your reputation as an employer can benefit or be dented during this time. Just like your customers, if you treat your employees with kindness and transparency, potential candidates will look upon you more favourably. Employee engagement can suffer through such change, but again, honesty adds to credibility which significantly contributes to favourability. There will always be someone who wants to use Glassdoor as a place to vent their frustrations, but with the right approach, advocacy will strengthen and any negatives will be far outweighed by positive views and opinions.
I’m sure you’re now expecting me to extol the virtues of the myriad systems that we have built to support redeployment programmes. If you want to talk about these, the team and I are more than happy to chat through. But this blog is about the people first. We firmly believe that you can only create the right technology solution if you understand the role, and needs, of the people involved. Our advice would be to take each group detailed above and look at the action they will take. And then balance that with the reaction that could follow. It might seem very simple. But it’s very human. And will deliver the right messages to the right people in the right way. It will help you deliver the practical information. And it will help you manage the emotional response. If you need any help planning this, managing it or indeed building technology solutions to deliver it, we’re more than happy to talk.
Blog by Ben