Works Councils and Organizational Change
Works Councils and Organizational Change – help or hindrance?
I was talking to a client recently who is working through a major organizational change. The change was initiated from the USA and, in most parts of the world, had progressed much more quickly than in Europe where the mandatory consultation period with works councils, Comité d’Entreprise and other employee participation structures was taking much longer.
These bodies give employees more protection and a say in how changes like this are implemented; usually by having mandatory periods of consultation or powers to stop change unless companies follow a particular process. In the past this has led to very long periods of delay in implementing change. Today European governments are, in general, tightening up the timescales and process that need to be adhered to in handling objections.
What is happening in practice in this particular organization is that everyone knows that the change is going on, they can see it happening elsewhere in the world and messages are leaking out from consultation discussions. The level of uncertainty in the European operation is much higher than in those operations which have already announced and implemented the change. Rumors abound and the company is unable to answer them before the end of the consultation period.
As line managers we know that if there is uncertainty and change we should try and manage it quickly. If we don’t, motivation falls and our best people start looking for new jobs – and the best people always have choices. Clearly we need to balance good practice in all of these areas. We have no choice but to adhere to local regulations so we need to factor in this consultation into our change management processes. Sometimes this consultation even helps us come up with a better solution.
This can be frustrating for people from jurisdictions that don’t have these constraints; they see the delay as wholly unnecessary. It can also be tempting for people in local operations to use the spectre of a works council to frustrate a head office initiative “we can do that here because of the works council” but people eventually learn about this ruse and it then undermines their case when there are legitimate needs to consult in the future.
These processes rarely stop you doing something but they may well change the way in which you get to implementation. As a global leader it is important to be aware of these processes and to factor in the necessary timescales – the law is not optional.
[banner heading=”Contact Us” link=”https://www.global-integration.com/contact-us/” icon=”coffee” anchor=”Find Out More” align=”left”]We help organizations cut through today’s complexities of virtual, matrix and global working.[/banner][banner heading=”Global Leadership” link=”https://www.global-integration.com/global-working/global-leadership/” icon=”virtual_teams_leadership” anchor=”Find Out More” align=”right”]Read more about our global leadership offerings and how we can help.[/banner]
Explore our training programs to see how we can help.Agile & Digital Training Matrix Management Training People and purpose Training Virtual Teams Training
Educate yourself further with a few more or our online insights:
25 years of experience learning with a range of world class clients
We work with a wide range of clients from global multinationals to recent start-ups. Our audiences span all levels, from CEOs to operational teams around the world. Our tools and programs have been developed for diverse and demanding audiences.
Tailored training or off the shelf modules for your people development needs
We are deep content experts in remote, virtual and hybrid working, matrix management and agile & digital leadership. We are highly flexible in how we deliver our content and ideas. We can tailor content closely to your specific needs or deliver off the shelf bite sized modules based on our existing IP and 25 years of training experience.
For more about how we deliver our keynotes, workshops, live web seminars and online learning.