So your place of employment has been acquired, merged, restructured or sold — well you are in good company because not many have avoided this aspect of big business as companies strive to improve performance and enhance the bottom line. Whether the change is internally driven by restructuring, realignment or downsizing or results from acquisition, merger or sale — change is unavoidable and predictable. Recognizing this inevitability and dealing with it can be motivating, liberating and empowering.
Developing an understanding of what is driving the need for organizational change is fundamental to the process. Certainly at the core is the expectation for economic improvement, but usually there is more to it than just finances. Other drivers may include: perceived strengths and weaknesses of the organizations, geographic fit and access to new markets, and synergies gained through a meshing of the organizations.
When assessing the situation, consider the following:
• At the core of the change is an expectation of economic improvement for the reorganized body, but where will this improvement come from? Where are the possible synergies? Where do the organizations have similar structure? Where do they differ?
• Where do the organizational strengths lie?
• Which executive structures are best positioned to take the lead in a new organization? Do not assume all will be from the same business unit — typically, the strongest structures are selected for the job.
• Which structures have the best chance of absorbing the other while maintaining or enhancing the bottom line? Do not assume it will always be the victor who "gains the spoils." Likely, mixed organization structures will make for the strongest company going forward.
• What are the locations of the likely contenders? Often, businesses recognize the benefit of keeping stronger units intact because relocation inevitably results in a loss of people and their skills. Likely, those selected to supplement the existing structure would face the move, if any relocation is required.
• Having considered the likely underlying factors, you are in the best position to assess your own situation, to consider the implications and to begin your planning and preparations.
• In the new structure, where do you fit in? Are your skills current and needed? Do you offer versatility that enables you to be considered for various assignments? Are you willing to relocate, accept temporary assignments or assist in transition programs? What changes in your career are you willing and ready to make? What will the new organization need that you can contribute to? What type of commitment are you willing to make?
• Consider these questions for yourself because it is likely that someone else responsible for organizational decisions will ask these same things of those who know you. Once you have completed your assessment and have identified the strengths and experience you bring to the organization, you need to make your thoughts known.
• Talk with your boss(es) and, if appropriate, your human resources representative about how you see yourself in the new organization and what you can bring to the table.
• Lastly, the reality is that an unavoidable consequence of organizational change will be the loss of some good people. One can never be sure of how the changes will affect them — either directly or indirectly.
The best advice is to be prepared. Dust off that resume and bring it up-to-date. Many resources are out there to assist you. Preparing a resume is also a great time to reflect on your career. Is the picture you see of yourself through your resume who or what you want it to be? If not, give thought to how you can change it. Your resume is a good barometer on how you will be viewed within your organization. If the resume conveys to the reader, hire me, I add value, then you can be pretty sure that’s how you are viewed by your company.
If your preparation proves unnecessary, at least you have the peace of mind from being prepared and the knowledge that you have taken stock of your skills, assessed your career and taken charge of your future.