How to deal with change in an organization: A Manager’s Perspective

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A manager dealing with change in his organization
Handling change in your organization

You run a business, you have employees working for your organization. You have been in this game for a considerable time, your product/service sells, your customers are crazy about your brand, but…

Lately, for one reason or the other, sales have been slow. You are not sure what it is, but you recognize that to continue to get that coin, you need to shake things up. You have done your analysis and you make the decision to “change” the way your business runs. The decision is data-driven, it makes sense on so many levels. Monday rolls by, and at the general meeting, you lay it on your employees, gbam! “We are changing the way we do so, so and so…” Everybody needs to adapt to what you say. Finito! No chance for dissent.

As you might have guessed, things do not really work out well. You studied the market, you looked at the data and you informed your team of your brilliant idea to change the way your organization works but things did not go as planned. Let us analyze what went wrong.

Definition

Organizational change can be defined as the alteration of certain aspects (operational, culture or resources) of the company; most times carried out to boost productivity and maximize profit. While this is good for the company’s bottom line, employees are the ones who have to adapt. And if they are not onboard with this change, the business suffers.

A 2020 Korn Ferry’s survey highlighted some of the biggest stress triggers in the office. As you would expect, horrible bosses and changes in organizational leadership rank high up. Other stressors include increased workloads, unresolved conflict, and ever-evolving technology.

As a manager, it is important that organizational change be managed in a way that ensures minimal discomfort to your employees. Guiding this process, The Harvard business review outlined three major phases of organizational change management:

  • Preparation, 
  • implementation, and 
  • follow-through. 

Dealing with change

Preparation involves actively planning for the change ahead of time. This requires that all parties involved in the process are consulted. If not, the change itself becomes an albatross, and your employees will come to resent and resist it. To back this claim up, a 2018 survey by Trade Press Services discovered that 85% of employees were most motivated when management offered regular updates on company news. Constant communication helps a lot and is a key feature when handling organizational change. 

After planning comes implementation. Your employees have been informed of the change, they have had time to air their grievances and concerns; you have addressed them as much as you can. Now it is time to implement. A timeline with clearly defined milestones is extremely useful here. Always check to ensure that the affected parties are onboard with the process. Ensure best practices are also used during the implementation process.

Follow-through is the glue that binds it all. This ensures that the change process is not abandoned midway, which can lead to increased levels of employee disengagement. Engaged employees are good for productivity, as seen from a recent RisePeople article which said that businesses who have highly engaged employees bring in 21% more profit than those who do not.

The numbers are in, and the stats do not lie. A 2014 study by Towers Watson discovered that organizations with effective change and communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers. They are also 50% less likely to have a higher churn rate (Clearcompany, 2014).

Effective communication with your employees will ensure that your business survives anything and everything. When employees are aligned with the company’s goals, the result is increased productivity. 

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