First is to thank you for this great initiative of giving back at such a time. This is not only a challenging period for everyone but also for us as HR as we try to strike a balance between supporting the business as well as our employees. Im a HR Manager in one of the research companies and we are currently facing a challenge in business as most of our commercial clients are facing financial problems and therefore research is no longer a priority for now.
Our management and head office sit in the USA but the majority of staff are based in Nairobi. They are looking at restructuring as an option to keep the business afloat which for me is a very wrong timing. Kindly help me with some concrete views on how better we can do this without having to downsize bearing in mind that we are also hiring in some departments. Also how to go about it from a legal perspective and the implications.
I will truly appreciate your prompt response.
- Linah Nyokabi Thiong'o asked 2 months ago
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Thanks for reaching out and true, this is such a time that we all need to find an area we can give support. Apologies too for the delayed response. The C19 pandemic has for sure redefined a lot of ways in which we respond to crisis. This, remember is a situation beyond anyones control and a global pandemic that has affected literally all businesses. Now to your concerns;
Is it the right time to restructure? I would say no and yes. The challenges that many HR have is to build a business case for the human resources available at any given time. The HR in this case becomes a business partner while at the same time presenting a human face to the initiatives and directives given from time to time. The other role of the HR is to advise on the impact of such thoughts from both a legal and business perspective. It is time to look at the structure vis avis the business focus in both the short term and long term and provide solid solutions that will cushion both the business and the employees. Remember, this is a delicate time and you do not want to make erratic decisions. Many organizations have advised their staff to take unpaid leave while all other benefits are intact. This will buy you time to review the workforce on the go and give sound advise to management. Remember, downsizing is usually a strategic decision and not based on an abrupt happening such as what we have been experiencing. It is therefore incumbent that you make such decisions that will cushion the business now and in the near future
If you wish to take the route of sending staff on unpaid leave, it is imperative that you meet and engage all that on this and discuss the issue before making the ultimate call. You would afterwards officially write to them in line with your policies and labour laws on that decision from a management decision perspective
In the event you are reviewing the need of some positions in the future, then this is the time to make the decision, however, ensure that you engage the said staff to be affected, provide a months notice period or such as is prescribed in the letters of appointment/ CBA if such exists. You will then be required to write to the labour office within a 1 month window before officially writing to the said affected staff. Remember this is deemed as redundancy and hence the redundancy clauses in the EA are invoked. Ensure the process is handled above board to avoid legal battles afterwards.
Tough times these are but we wish you all the best!! Please feel free to revert for further queries or clarifications
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