The Broadway Brokers reading demonstrates one way that handling sensitive issues such as restructuring could have been handled; however, it seems that there are a few areas where matters could have been handled more sensitively. First, by sending out a letter advising employees and stockholders alike that there would be drastic changes ahead, including layoffs, in the next few months, the manager placed himself at a distinct disadvantage. His intent, of course, was to allow for cutting costs and streamlining expenses to protect the business and its overhead. Unfortunately, this form of communication falls short and stands to earn employee mistrust (who will be cut first?) and creates a sense of the manager being the “bad guy” instead of part of the team.
A more effective method would have been to allow for the communication to come from each specific department head, with possible strategies for how each employee could do his or her part in the cutbacks while asking for ideas from the employees so that they too could contribute to the cause. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this would have been in a workplace meeting to bring everyone together and allow for mutual sharing and discussion of the situation and how it can be remediated, including cost-cutting measures, further education to help become more marketplace competitive, and recognition of those employees who have exceeded expectations or who have been beneficial in their roles and assisted others.
The article “Managing to Communicate, Communicating to Manage” establishes the need for open communication in times of company upheaval, as this is the only way that an overall successful outcome can ultimately be achieved (Young & Post, 1993). Setting up open lines of communication is essential, as are the opportunities to network among themselves and their peers, so employees feel heard and appreciated rather than expendable. By creating and adhering to a shared goal, the company could still have a chance to potentially even recover and turn things around from the red zone they currently face. One question which does arise would be, if restructuring is inevitable, how could or should it be handled? Should it be done equally across levels (as the readings suggest), or should those workers who are skilled and contributing be kept on and others culled regardless of seniority? Also, what methods might be best used to reach those employees who, in light of the events, become disillusioned and feel that layoffs are inevitable? While positive feedback can help in this instance, it may be wise to consider more than one focus to ensure everyone’s concerns are addressed accordingly.
Young, M. & Post, J. (1993). Managing to communicate, communicating to manage: How leading companies communicate with employees. Organizational Dynamics, 22(1), 31-43. doi:10.1016/0090-2616(93)90080-k