16 Oct 2023

Restructure and redundancies, a necessity or a convenient lever?

A recent pre-election survey by Simpson Grierson of current top issues for employers highlighted that 36% of respondents (181 total) pointed to the likelihood of restructure or redundancies in the next 6-12 months. While change is good and stimulates growth and new opportunities, it is the cyclical nature of the need to restructure with some employers that draws my disdain.

Over my career I have worked with many business leaders of large and small organisations who have sought my advice and guidance about how to meet their good faith obligations under the Employment Relations Act to bring about change that enables them to keep their ‘ship financially afloat’. Often these employers were reacting to market forces and had little option but to make change for their very survival.

This contrasts starkly though with some larger organisations who I have observed continually restructure and make employees redundant under the banner of “efficiency”, which of course they are entitled to do, but at the same time seem to overlook an inconvenient truth regarding significant or record profit announcements. It always leaves me questioning their employer of choice brand integrity.

On a positive note, I have also worked with some larger organisations who have an established business model with very effective innovation programmes and employees who, for the most part, were an integral part of driving efficiencies and were very engaged in better ways of working. For these organisations, regular restructures and redundancies are a last resort. These employers often don’t look for a label to support their reputation, they genuinely earn their reputation as an employer that value their employees. Long live the Kiwi innovation spirit and those employers that invest in programmes that embrace talent and innovation with a long term financial sustainability perspective over this year’s profit announcement.


Greg Cateley | People & Culture Specialist