Company restructuring, how to communicate?
Areva, SNCM, FNAC, PSA, Renault, Carrefour, Air France, SFR, Goodyear, Petroplus, Fralib… the list of companies threatened with delayed social restructuring because of elections is long, which suggests a brutal return to reality in September, once the electoral deadlines and the summer break are over. The risk of a socially difficult future is therefore real for the new President of the Republic who, during the campaign, made a strong commitment to employees threatened with redundancies and announced his intention to implement a new long-term industrial policy to combat company restructuring, particularly relocation, and theirs consequences.
In this context, and considering the significant increase in tensions around restructuring operations, as various recent cases have shown, the strategies implemented, particularly in terms of communication, will be decisive in preventing these operations from degenerating and having a lasting effect on the companies’ reputation.
Because before being an operational or social issue, this type of operation is a matter of communication, a global communication, both internally and towards all external stakeholders, even if it means going against the practices and habits of social dialogue of large groups.
Numerous examples, some of which are very recent, tend to demonstrate that the traditional model based on the exclusivity of the relationship with employee representative bodies does not work in this type of situation: by taking refuge behind certain legal alibis in order to not communicate, or to communicate little, companies themselves create deadlock situations. However, in this type of situation, having the initiative and being the first to speak is an essential asset, not to say one of the major conditions for success, provided that one accepts the consequences and does not hesitate to assume them.