Workforce changes a concern for UK businesses

A vast number of UK firms are planning significant alterations to their workforce, ranging from mergers and acquisitions to office relocations, management changes and restructuring.

But new research from Lee Hecht Harrison|Penna has revealed that many companies have concerns over these changes.

One in four companies fears they will not be able to take advantage, as they feel senior management are not up to the task, saying the lack the skills and experience to manage a transition.

This is despite 94% of companies having either already gone through changes or having them in the pipeline.

Some 85% expect a high level of changes in the future too, suggesting that conditions are unlikely to change anytime soon.

The research also found that 47% of organisations are failing to prepare their leaders and managers for any company changes, making transitions more difficult.

A quarter of employees are disengaged by a lack of development at their firms while 41% fear losing their best talent if they are unable to transform their company successfully.

Any merger or acquisition, or alternative financial alteration is done to improve the situation of the company and to boost performance – Lee Hecht Harrison|Penna CEO Nick Goldberg claims it should therefore not be something for firms to worry about.

The study also showed that Brexit is not the main factor behind workforce change – instead, a third of respondents cited new technology.

A lack of preparation and assessments was a major factor behind issues that arose as a result of changes, while larger firms were more likely to find business changes challenging.

Whereas 22% of businesses with more than 2,500 staff found change a challenge, the figure dripped to 8% among SMEs with 100 to 249 employees.

Firms need to futureproof themselves to ensure they can continue to expand effectively, but they also need to be aware of the need for efficient planning and management.

If rates of workforce change progress as expected, those that act quickly will be better placed to deal with the challenges they might face.

By Phil Smith

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