Psychological health and restructuring firms

New European Union (EU) plans say companies may need to assess the psychological health of their workers when considering restructuring. The Daily Mail reported that the new directive would also make managers examine the impact of job cuts on the community.

A spokesperson from the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology explained that the draft EU directive (prepared by Alejandro Cercas, Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, European Parliament, June 2012) proposes new legislation that will require companies going through such personnel changes to appropriately plan, prepare for, manage and monitor in advance any plans for altering their workforce in several ways.

Key proposals state the need to increase communications surrounding the restructuring process, maintaining worker well-being before, during and after the changes and raise the chance of future employment for those leaving the firm by investing in training and development.

In addition the directive will make provisions for businesses to address the impact the restructure will have on the local area.

The BPS spokesperson stated: "In essence, the proposals are in line with good management practice and evidenced based research - from our research we know that employee well-being is critical to business performance, communications are a key factor in employee well-being and skills are critical to job-seeker confidence and employability.

"However the need to solidify these proposals into legislation is seemingly at odds with current Government initiatives here in the UK. Led by the Department for Business, the Employment Law Review is aiming to improve economic growth through labour market flexibility, reduce the burden on businesses and give employers the confidence to take more people on.

"It is timely that Acas (the UK's Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has just updated its guide to Redundancy Handling (July 2012), following new research which has thrown up an often overlooked issue, the role of the tellers or redundancy envoys.

They concluded: "The UK approach appears to be one of advising and supporting companies. The current Coalition Government has voiced the need to reduce the legislative burden on UK businesses in order to help businesses survive and thrive. The question is how can we encourage more organisations to adopt sound, research-based good practices without the rigidity of yet more employment law?"