There have been several rumors going around that my department is about to have a re-org. I'm a strong performer and have been trying to find a way to get a promotion. With the re-org coming up, it seems that now is probably the time to make it happen. I've been having talks with my manager about what I want and why I think I deserve it. I have also talked with HR and a few other managers. I was hoping to come on this site and find some tips for the things that I should be doing in anticipation of the re-org.

Edit: It's worth mentioning here that my company has never had a layoff in it's nearly 50 year history, so I'm not expecting one now. The rumored re-org is mostly to address our issues that stem from growth over time. Another department just had a re-org and they ended up with a new layer of management, which is what I'm anticipating with my department. Perhaps re-org is the wrong word?

  • 14
    Hope you don't get laid off Jun 9, 2015 at 15:35
  • 3
    Be visibly valuable, working efficiently and effectively on important things. Which should always be your goal.
    – keshlam
    Jun 9, 2015 at 15:52
  • Related - workplace.stackexchange.com/q/11816/2322
    – enderland
    Jun 9, 2015 at 16:55
  • 1
    Just let the re-org happen and let your work history speak for itself. Pesterning them is just going to make you seem like a pest.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 9, 2015 at 18:07
  • @keshlam Unfortunately, during a reorganisation, management will look at tasks, and whether those tasks can be assigned to someone else in order to reduce the amount of FTE's. Even if you're extremely good at your job: if your tasks can be assigned to other people, you might get laid off. (it's not exactly that black-and-white, though) Jun 10, 2015 at 9:48

3 Answers 3


You mostly don't.

If your company has gotten to the point in the re-org that there's rumors of a re-org (and the rumors are true), and you're not in the re-org meetings, then that's a pretty solid sign that you aren't going to be in a position of power once the re-org actually happens.

That said, rumors of a re-org have a tendency to drive people to new jobs. Actual re-orgs tend to drive people to new jobs. Beyond that, you might get a new manager because of the re-org. All of these things are opportunities that you can take advantage of. Do your job well, do your job well visibly. If your culture is political, then maybe widen your social/political nets. And remember that even if you're not moved up via the re-org, you might have an opportunity shortly thereafter. Be ready to seize it.

  • "If your culture is political, then maybe widen your social/political nets." ~ if you're hearing rumors of re-orgs then it's likely too late for this to make a difference. That said, it's solid advice.
    – NotMe
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:30
  • 1
    @NotMe - it's likely too late to save your job if you're on the chopping block, but not too late to network should you lose your job, or build support should an opportunity arise from someone else leaving.
    – Telastyn
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:44
  • +1 for "it's too late" - from my limited experience, the rumors get out because they've started giving people the heads up on the new state of affairs. To offer you a promotion, they'd be pulling you in to make that offer. Jun 10, 2015 at 15:52
  • I wish this wasn't the answer, but as it turns out in my case, you're right.
    – coder1
    Jul 21, 2015 at 19:10

Re-Orgs are usually about reassigning responsibilities to departments. They are usually done with one of three goals in mind:

  1. Assigning more appropriate levels of employees to tasks. You may have developers doing usability testing, or CPA's doing payroll entry, and the company is growing such that it's not feasible to have top-dollar talent doing the day-to-day tasks, so the responsibilities are redistributed to other teams with less expensive staff.
  2. Collapsing the number of departments. If business has tapered off, or if the company is being "leaned up" for a sale, some departments may have their responsibilities carved up and distributed among other departments, and the manager reassigned or laid off.
  3. Expanding the number of departments. An example: The receptionist may have been pulling double-duty as a shipping clerk, but the work load is such that a separate shipping clerk is needed, now. That's kind of small-scale, but that's the thinking that's going on.

People and teams may be moved between departments as responsibilities of those departments are changed, but there is not really an advancement opportunity unless a new department is being created. Even then, it's not likely a line-level employee will head a new department. It will usually be a lead or assistant manager being given more responsibility.

What you hope for is that the re-org isn't about sidelining a useless mid-level manager, and that you're going to be stuck in his department, with fewer and fewer responsibilities.


Let's have a look at what could happen.

  1. You keep your job, nothing changes. Lucky you, you survive the lay-offs. However, it can have other consequences, which takes me to
  2. You keep your job, but you get demotivated. Layoffs can lower team morale, especially when highly valued employees are fired. Witnessing a colleague clearing the desk or saying goodbye to the team is a tough experience. The ones that stay in the company may fear any of them may be the next, or start to get paranoid that someone can betray them.
  3. You keep your job, but your work load increases. Your team loses members and you and the rest are expected to do your job and theirs. Depending on what you're doing a the time, how many people leave and how many stay, you could find yourself doing more than you can handle. In some cases companies may force their employees to do unpaid overime or work till you burn out.
  4. You get laid-off. It's difficult to know what criteria they use to fire employees. Sometimes is productivity, or seniority ("juniors first"), random or a mix of all them. You may even survive the first batch, work a few more months, and be a victim of a next one.

If I were you, I'd start polishing my resume ASAP. Terms such as "re-org" are usually codewords and consist mostly in reducing costs by firing employees. This may not be the time to talk about promotions.

  • 1
    re-org does not always immediately mean lay-off.
    – KillianDS
    Jun 11, 2015 at 7:55

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