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4.9.20 outreach blog reorg

As markets change and performance falters, businesses adapt by reorganizing. By streamlining processes, integrating systems, and adding new capabilities, a company can transform to navigate crises. However, change isn’t organizational alone; an organization is comprised of its employees. To ensure a company and its employees evolve together, custom learning solutions are critical.

There are a number of people problems that come with any reorg, but most can be overcome through careful communication and training. Employee learning and development teams have a crucial role in increasing employee motivation and helping employees see the change as an opportunity. Training is a powerful tool for tackling employee concerns and maintaining a motivated workforce through changes. This may involve onboarding to a new position (or cross-boarding), reskilling, or upskilling employees to take on new responsibilities, but any effective strategy must also address the psychological factors that decrease motivation.

Negative Effects of Stress

During a reorg, employees can struggle with fears around job security and new responsibilities. Even the employees with more positive outlooks will experience some stress and uncertainty, which is why reorgs are associated with decreased employee productivity, higher turnover, and increased absenteeism. Research by Mental Health America found that 46% percent of respondents reported “Always or Often” having difficulty concentrating and being distracted as a result of increased stress in the workplace. For the employees that are laid off during a reorg, the impact can be damaging to future success. A 2002 study found that lay-off survivors experience sharp declines in job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and job performance.

In either case, the impact on company culture is detrimental. Companies tend toward prescriptive environments during transitions, but positive cultures that value and trust employees will see greater improvements. According to Virgin Pulse’s annual State of the Industry survey of over 1,000 HR leaders, company culture is the biggest roadblock to engaging employees.

The Role of Motivation

The main goal of training during a reorg is to get employees up to speed on the skills needed for their new role, but it’s also an opportunity to develop technical skills within your workforce. According to a McKinsey survey, 66% of executives see reskilling employees for gaps related to digital transformation as a top-ten priority, and almost 30% see it as a top-five priority.

While most of us don’t like change, we usually embrace a challenge that will help us improve. When a company undergoes a reorg, it’s asking its employees to stretch and evolve. Technical skills will undoubtedly benefit individual employees, but more training may seem daunting in the face of large organizational changes. So, training content and communications around the transition should mention motivational factors like career development, attractive new skill sets, knowledge, promotions, or raises. Channel your employee’s anxiety to create excitement and engagement about their opportunities for growth.


A reorg is rarely perfect, and it comes with notable challenges to people and performance management. Fortunately, most of those challenges can be overcome through careful corporate training strategies. Employees that have engaged in onboarding, reskilling, or cross-boarding can become agile components of the company. But, training during a reorg must also address key motivational factors in order to prevent stress, turnover, and decreased productivity.