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CONTESTABLE SELECTION processes through business structural changes

Updated: May 28, 2020

When managing a change to your business structure, preparation, sound business rationale, a strong consultation process and good communication are fundamental to successful implementation.


Often when downsizing needs to occur, there may be fewer jobs within a new team structure than there are employees to fill them. This is when a robust and transparent contestable selection process is required.


Don’t make the mistake of underestimating employee’s emotions during these processes. Everyone can get affected and even the best possible process can cause a variety of issues. Endeavouring to keep communication lines firmly open, providing information when requested and checking in on your team’s welfare are all important considerations to support those affected through these times.

When making selection decisions through the course of a business restructure it is important to:

  • Have clearly defined selection criteria

  • Ensure each employee is provided with the selection criteria and has time to prepare for the selection process

  • Allow the affected person the opportunity to have a support person present during the selection process

  • Ask each employee if they have an opinion on the selection criteria or the best and fairest way to make selection decisions

  • Remain objective - Whilst making a selection decision between your current employees can never be fully objective (in our view), it is important to remain as objective as possible and avoid raising historic performance and/or behaviour which may influence your decision. This may be unfair and could result in a successful personal grievance outcome for an embittered employee

In our experience, holding a selection process like the recruitment of any role is the best strategy. Keep it simple but consistent for each employee:

  1. Have a solid job description, presumably with selection criteria including responsibilities, skills, attributes and competencies

  2. Facilitate a structured interview and ask consistent questions aligned to the selection criteria

  3. Make your decisions but ensure you have a rationale to justify your decision making that is as objective as possible.

  4. Provide well thought through feedback to those employees included in the selection process – both the successful and unsuccessful.

  5. Show compassion and ensure you are prepared for those discussions where you are informing an employee they have been unsuccessful. Make sure they understand what this means for them and their employment and what support is available to them

For more information on business structural changes and contestable selection process contact The HR GUY:

M: 021 543 510

E: dylan@thehrguy.nz

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