Helen Buck, the Executive Director of the LSL Estate Agency business has revealed more details about the frenetic efforts to inform staff at Your Move and Reeds Rains on the morning of 5th February last year that the number of branches for the two brands was being reduced to 144 offices.
The network, which at the time was 308 branches, had to be told that morning of their individual fates but not until after the announcement was made to the City under London Stock Exchange rules.
Each branch manager had a different number to ring depending on whether their branch was going to be closed, become part of a franchise or turned into a keystone branch.
“Some of the phone systems weren’t working so you had some people just standing around wondering what was happening,” she says.
“But we were lucky because the industry press didn’t notice that the restructure announcement had been released to the City until much later than we thought they would, so it gave us a bit of a breathing space to tell all the branch staff what was going on.
“We ensured that everyone was talked to face-to-face within 48 hours of the announcement by their branch managers, which I think would have felt like a long time if you were worried about your job.”
Buck says she and Reeds Rains MD Oliver Blake then spent the next two weeks driving up and down the country listening to people within the business to ensure they knew what LSL were doing, and why they were doing it.