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Moving Forward After Organizational Restructuring

Since the early 1980s, a wave of reorganization has emerged. The plight of displaced employees has received great attention, as evidenced by the many programs for helping them retrain, relocate, increase their employability and regain their emotional stability. Relief comes to an organization after restructuring when everyone assumes that the worst has passed. However, the readjustment process for the remaining employees may become a shocking experience for the organization.

These massive changes associated with workplace reorganization can cause significant turmoil and stress. The remaining employees never know when it is their turn to be terminated. There is more than a paycheck at stake. One?s sense of identity is affected. Jobs provide status at work, at home and in the community. In changing times, people feel they are losing power, self-esteem, a sense of belonging and relationships with co-workers
Fear sets in for the remaining employees. They fear new responsibilities, learning new skills and tasks, losing a job, trusting the organization in the future and of having a new boss, new team members, or new customers. These fears are normal reactions to change. Sense of loss of one?s security, the assumptions about the organization?s loyalty to you, loss of a familiar working environment or familiar co-workers all take their toll.

Feeling guilty for what people have no control over common in times of change. People ask, ?Why did my friends lose their jobs, or why didn?t I see this coming?? Picture yourself in a family of five children. You always have dinner together with your dad and mom. Then one day, just after dinner has been served, Dad stands up and takes away one of the plate. Then, he summons the rest to enjoy their meal. You will probably wonder; what did my brother or sister do? Did I in any way cause him or her to be punished? Will my plate be the next to be taken away? Can I trust Dad anymore? And what can I do to prepare for the unknown, should my plate be taken too?

There are some strategies that can help remaining employees move forward after their organization has restructured. These strategies can help them focus on their future well-being and that of their organization, which has to be profitable for them to continue in their job.

Reflection of what has happened is crucial. Employees need to learn to respect their feelings, accept them and let those feelings take their natural course. I consider taking time for solitude important in order to put things into perspective. They can also try to avoid taking impulsive actions and distinguish feelings from behaviors.

Taking time to relax and get involved in activities that refresh your body, mind and soul does help in focusing on a new beginning.

This is also an opportunity to reassess and try to connect your past, present, and future. Assess the reasons for any fears you are experiencing. Take inventory of your life (e.g., your values, how you spend your time and energy, your goals, the importance of relationships). Establish clear goals and priorities. Assess your new role in the company and adopt some strategies to help you move forward with that role. Break large, long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals to motivate yourself with a frequent sense of achievement. Assess your possible losses, and live in the present. Enjoy new workplace environments, friends, and opportunities for acquiring new skills, abilities, and knowledge. Don?t hold back from challenges for fear of future uncertainties. Develop a new, flexible vision as an employee, a vision that sees employment as an opportunity for you as an individual to face new challenges, acquire new abilities, and learn new skills. Prepare for unforeseen future possibilities and accept change as a positive process of life. View it as the process that provides new opportunities, rather than as a threat. Also, reassess your guilt as a survivor and understand whether or not your guilt feeling is unrealistic, or if you have real, personal responsibility. Was someone displaced because of your actions or power? Don?t condemn yourself. Focus on the future. Believe in the strength and resilience of others and their ability to capitalize on the opportunities associated with new beginnings.

Maintaining routines and rituals is critical during periods of turmoil and change. Rituals, for example, a morning walk, playing basketball, garden, Church service, attending association meetings or enjoying special food on Saturday morning provide a sense of continuity and stability. Continue any rituals that are valuable to you and that you would like to sustain.

Studies show that change may bring illness. Above all, maintain your health. Headaches, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, increased use of drugs (including medication) or alcohol, gastrointestinal problems, confusion, depression, or irregular sleep patterns, substantial weight change (gains or losses) and mood changes are warning signs that may occur during periods of change. Doctors say we shouldn?t ignore them.

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