Planning for uncertain times – Restructuring the business

Post-pandemic we aren’t really going to know what the new normal looks like. In the interim between lockdowns being lifted and the Covid-19 vaccine being made available on a large scale which, if the World Economic Forum and Gates Foundation are to be believed this is still at least a year away, we have to plan for uncertain times.

Pre-pandemic the unemployment rate in South Africa officially stood at 29,1%,  with the real number being a lot greater than that.  All of these unemployed and those who have disengaged from the process of becoming employed relying on the social grant system.  While the numbers are not yet known, predictions of over 1 million job losses puts the unemployment rate around 33,5% by October 2020 (


One thing for sure is there are certain to be salary cuts, restructures, and retrenchments on a scale that we have not witnessed for decades, possibly ever before. The blame for these massive job losses are likely to be placed on the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the downgrade of the South African economy, global competition, and of course automation and 4th Industrial revolution innovations.

Given what is coming, how will you reinvent your operational model and what new skills will you need when you level up? That payroll lady needs to be learning these new skills so she stays at work. Solutioneers™ are working with companies who want to reinvent their customer service model and diversify their offerings.


But what if the payroll lady can’t be retained? The decision has been taken that she is going to get retrenched because your ERP system just announced an upgrade that will do what she does with a Bot.  Post-pandemic we are going to be faced with a moral dilemma – how to spend the money on automation and keep the human employed?


Is your organisation faced with some tough decisions whether to restructure, re-skill, or retrench your labour force?

The Covid-19 reality is that some organisations just cannot pivot or diversify to the extent that they will be able to save all the jobs.  It is a harsh reality that many executives are faced with right now. The Section 189 process is a painful one for the organisation, and those who go through it, regardless of the individual outcome.


What if we told you that there was a better way – both socially and for the organisation?  One thing this pandemic has taught us is that doing the right thing is often not easy.


Our industry practice lead Solutioneer™ in this field has worked with large multi-national organisations to restructure in a responsible way with care for the human who is affected.

By implementing an employee exit strategy that leverages state funding (and there is a lot of that right now) pulling up to 7 different funding levers available for the reskilling of individuals so that they do not add to the increasing number of low skilled unemployed.  Utilising funding available also has the benefit to the organisation of reducing the budget required to pay for retrenchment settlements.


If the decision of “the how” to restructure lies with you – talk to us about this unique, more humanitarian, and socially responsible approach.