With the government putting pressure on local councils to make savings and work more efficiently, it is becoming increasingly common for directorates within local government authorities to go through a review process. The intention of this is usually to look at creating new, innovative ways to get the job done while simultaneously saving money and increasing productivity. It can mean merging teams, changing work practices and in some cases, making certain jobs obsolete. So staff going through a review within a local government authority may naturally feel anxious about how this will impact them and the future of their job. If you are currently going through a review, here are some tips on how to stay calm and get through the transition as smoothly as possible.
Understand the need for change
When directors start talking about change our natural reaction is to become suspicious and wary. In fact studies place changes at work within the top life stresses an individual can experience. The fact is, humans like routine and predictability. We are used to working in a certain way and stepping out of that comfort zone and into the unknown can be unappealing to say the least. But sometimes in government, change is inevitable; it is needed to progress and can, eventually, benefit everyone. If you get so caught up in worrying about the problems, uncertainty and worse case scenarios surrounding change then you will miss valuable information about the future your role and what’s expected of you. Ultimately, the power is out of your hands and the change will go ahead regardless of your feelings towards it so it is best to try and remain positive, open minded and flexible towards the change. Many government authorities provide training on how to cope with change before a review process begins so give that a try if you feel it could benefit you.
During a review it can feel like all of the changes about your future are being made above your head by senior managers. But good bosses are honest and know that they have a duty to keep all employees up to date with the progress of the review. Therefore meetings, newsletters and briefs should be fed through regularly. During periods of uncertainty, the rumor mill can start turning so it is important that you communicate any concerns to your leaders so they can put your mind at ease with facts, rather than add to the speculation with gossip.
Know your rights
One of the main things people worry about throughout a review is the prospect of losing their job or having their salary downgraded. With directors looking to make cuts wherever they can, this can actually be a very real possibility and for employees who have family commitments, bills and debts to pay, it can be extremely worrying. However most government authorities are unable to instantly cut pay. Even if their job description is altered and their salary is lowered, employees often have a period of protection during which time they can either try to find another job or make arrangements for their future finances. Speak to a union rep or your HR department to see exactly where you stand if you find yourself in this position.
See the positives
For some employees, a review can be the perfect time to progress. As roles are re-evaluated and staff are switched around, vacancies can come up within management that might not have been available before. Staff who are downgraded are often also given the opportunity to work their way back up to a higher level providing they undertake certain training which can be beneficial for them and the service in general. As teams merge you will be given the opportunity to get to know other members of staff and learn about their work practices. And above all else, you will not be transitioning alone. You will have the support of your co-workers who are all in the same boat.