How-To Series

4 Steps to a Successful, Proactive Reorganization


Lauren Rogers

| Jun 6, 2018

Video discussing 4 steps to a successful, proactive reorganization

This blog is part of our ongoing how-to series, designed to help you tackle big initiatives and challenges with confidence. To see other blogs in this series, click here.

Proactive reorganization can be challenging for HR, leadership and employees. Anxiety in your workforce over potential job losses can cast a dark cloud over an otherwise necessary and beneficial process.

Keep news of the reorganization under wraps, and it somehow will leak, leading employees to worry how “bad” the reorganization really is underneath all that secrecy. Share too much too soon, and you risk upheaval or the impression that leadership is putting a positive spin on a situation your employees fear will hurt their careers.

When your organization is reorganizing proactively, the way you communicate those changes has an outsized influence on how your employees view the reorganization. Having an accurate picture of your workforce before, during and after a reorganization can help you communicate proactively as well, thereby mitigating your employees’ anxiety. Your org chart is a key tool here.

Here’s how to use org charting to execute a proactive reorganization that will inspire confidence – not concern – among your workforce.

Step 1: Perform your assessment

According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, 60% of leaders didn’t spend sufficient time assessing the state of their organization before redesigning it. Make sure your organizational charting is accurate and up-to-date before you get started so you can make the right adjustments.

Graphic: Make sure your organizational charting is accurate and up-to-date before you get started so you can make the right adjustments.


Take stock of your current workforce, including strengths and gaps in skills or knowledge. Map where those line up against your overall strategy. Don’t forget to take a pulse on the current culture, including the intangible elements that influence how work gets done: the way decisions get made, how conflict is resolved and which behaviors are implicitly and explicitly valued.

It’s critical to develop your future org chart based upon business need and strategy, rather than around your key players. Planning around specific individuals potentially could limit the success of your new structure, and impede business goals.

In fact, McKinsey cautions that when you make your planned changes during a reorganization, implement those affecting your culture or structure first and then adjust your org chart to reflect it, and not the other way around. In other words, focus on the roles you need and then slot in your people. Your org chart should reflect this as you go, so your employees always know where their reporting relationships lie.

Step 2: Plan your implementation

 Using your current org chart, identify how those desired changes need to be made. Keep your company’s long-term strategic aspirations in mind when deciding how you will roll out the desired changes. Consider these questions:

  • What does success look like, both in the short and long terms?
  • How will HR address employee questions?
  • Which departments will experience significant upheaval?
  • How can your leadership lessen that transitional stress for your employees?

 Ensure your org chart is accurate at the beginning of a reorganization, at the end and at key moments throughout the process. That will help you share updates and the reasons behind certain changes with employees.

This becomes effortless with HR software that automatically updates your org chart as changes are approved elsewhere in the system. If you don’t have technology that will update across different modules in real time, this is still a valuable practice – it will just take some manpower.

Graphic: Keep your company's long-term strategic aspirations in mind when deciding how you will roll out the desired changes.

 Step 3: Communicate with your workforce

 Proactively create your communication plan. Start by identifying how you want to evolve the cultural mindsets you identified in step 1. What expectations will need to change about the way that work gets done? What about reporting structures? Big-picture priorities?

Remember when you determined how HR would address employee questions? Keep those channels of communication open so your employees remain confident that a plan exists behind the changes they’re seeing. Emphasize the strategy behind major changes and make it easy for employees to know their reporting relationships throughout the reorganization.

Pair in-person communication with electronic communication to reach your employees. For example, you may send an email from executive leadership outlining the new structure, followed by a “town hall” meeting to share more details and the business strategies behind those changes.

Graphic: Emphasize the strategy behind major changes and make it easy for employees to know their reporting relationships throughout the reorganization.

Identify reorganization benchmarks to help them recognize their role in the process and see the benefit of the changes happening organizationwide. These benchmarks are a great time to update the org chart so your employees know who’s reporting to whom.

 Step 4: Keep employees on track

If your org chart is confusing or appears unrelated to what employees are used to, they may revert to what they know instead of following the new structure. This is why it’s crucial to start with an org chart that reflects your organization as it actually stands before making any adjustments; it will give you a better idea of what needs to happen and who needs to know.

If a department’s reporting structure is changing, update the org chart as quickly as possible after that happens. Is the scope of certain positions changing? Make sure any reporting relationships influenced by that alteration are updated in a timely manner to avoid internal confusion and miscommunication.

HR plays an increasingly strategic role in the day-to-day success of their companies. Accurate organizational charting can help you tackle a reorganization while minimizing employee anxiety. When you can trust that all the positions, jobs and people in your org chart are placed accurately, you’re better able to communicate strategic decisions during a reorganization. And that can inspire assurance – not anxiety – in the employees on whom your company depends.

To learn more about Paycom’s Position Management tool, request a demo.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.

About the Author

Lauren Rogers

As a writer at Paycom, Lauren Rogers keeps employees abreast of company news and events, and provides insight to industry leaders regarding issues affecting human capital management. With experience in marketing and communications, Lauren has written blogs and other materials for a variety of businesses and nonprofits. Outside the office, she enjoys gardening, testing new recipes and sipping something caffeinated with her nose in a book.

See more posts by Lauren Rogers