In any event, getting the process right is a vital component. The credibility of the change managers will be scrutinised closely enough on the issue itself, with all processes in place. If process is at fault too, then things can get very messy indeed.
Legalities of how you are dealing with people issues must be resolved first and a clear understanding of HR technicalities requires the right level of expertise. Within this are elements of fairness, consistency and honesty. Although subsets of the well-researched HR framework, they save a lot of time, energy and emotion if considered in advance and protocols carefully positioned.
Appropriate timescales in changing people issues, will need to be carefully dealt with as part of the HR overview, but it can be easy to slip. A good way to work is using a simple project management process for the whole event, working for as far back as week -12 to week +12 and setting this into a spreadsheet or a Gantt Chart.
Check and Check Again
This will give everyone a clear view of how the process will work and what needs to be done when. Time taken in this planning stage cannot be overdone and the change management team will need to work in a focused way, to deliver a credible plan. Double-check that everything has been thought of, because it probably still won’t have been.
If multi-site, this all needs to be coordinated on a macro level with each site working to the same plan.
The point of delivering a coherent and researched plan is not simply for the protection of the organisation. It is much more efficient and enables the organisation to recover more quickly after significant change has happened. Individuals, too, are protected technically and it is possible to have as good as and even better relationships with the individuals concerned, when they are dealt with fairly and openly.
Managing change to involve your people and treat them as well as possible is a doable process. It is the role of management to manage and get it right first time – it’s what they are paid for. Then successful outcomes will result and the organisation can move on from a potentially challenging time.