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Restructuring companies, the human way

A new working paper examines socially responsible employer practices and how public authorities can best support them.

“We need to restructure in order to adapt to today’s needs”: a rather bland phrase that has been uttered in many a company. Yet it masks a myriad complications for employers and much heartache for employees, who must find ways to stay in work. Meanwhile, most countries in the EU are still struggling to emerge from a deep recession. Public authorities therefore have an interest in encouraging organisational and technical innovation in companies. But they have an equal interest in preserving social cohesion. This involves both limiting redundancies, and ensuring that changes in companies do not threaten entire regions or sectors.

Cedefop’s latest working paper looks at companies undergoing restructuring in eleven countries: how they train and guide workers about to be made redundant, and how national and regional policy can encourage both restructuring and employability. In seven of the countries (Austria, Germany, Finland, Latvia, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK) the paper examines case studies of several large and medium-sized companies. The paper's main focus is to identify those practices that can be used in different areas, situations and sectors.