L&D and the dreaded restructure

My organisation, like many at the moment, is undergoing a restructure. Nothing too serious, just the usual “re-aligning”of business objectives, etc, etc. The main question that’s been bothering me is “what’s the role of L&D in a restructure?”.

Despite the fact that the HR team is usually front and centre in any restructure effort, L&D can feel a bit lost and left out of the whole process. What, if anything, can the L&D team (or person!) do to help the organisation through the change?

The first and most obvious way to contribute is to build change management capability in the organisation. Easier said than done however. Most people think that they cope well with change…until they are faced with it. Many people don’t even realise that they are reacting in any way other than completely controlled and “normal”. The usual problem of trying to get people to show up to sessions – particularly when they feel so lovely and normal – is also an issue here. So what next?

The role of L&D is really after the change in helping to build new teams and help people settle into their new roles. In all of the fanfare that accompanies organisational change leaders often forget that their people are very much in the middle of a steep learning curve – new role, new tasks, new relationships. Leaders need to be aware that their people are going through these changes and the ways in which the L&D team can help. That’s where our consulting skills and the relationships and trust we have build up previously are critical. You can’t expect to just walk into a leader’s office out of the blue and tell them you’re there to solve all their people problems (no matter how much you think you can!). You need to leverage off past wins and the relationship and respect you’ve built up over time.

Always remember, you’re going through the changes as well so look after yourself first so you can help others!