When an organization changes, whether it is something as drastic as a merger or as seemingly innocuous as a new software system, employees may feel threatened. People tend to desire stability and order as opposed to disruption and uncertainty.
Employers can reduce the negative fallout from such shifts in direction through a carefully considered, formalized approach called change management. Organizational change management involves creating a customized plan for ensuring that affected employees receive the awareness, leadership, training, and coaching needed to change successfully. Here is a closer look at why such an approach is necessary.
Take employees’ perspective
People resist change in an organization for many reasons, among them:
- A loss of security or status (whether real or perceived)
- Inconvenience and unfamiliarity
- Distrust of their employers’ motives
- Simply thinking the old way is better
Employees naturally get nervous when they feel their jobs, careers, or valued working relationships are on the line because of change.
It does not help the situation when certain initial changes appear to make employees’ jobs more difficult. For example, moving to a new location might enhance an organization’s image or provide more productive facilities. But doing so also may increase some employees’ commuting times or put employees in a drastically different working environment. When their daily lives are affected in such ways, employees tend to question the decision and experience high levels of anxiety.
Avoid a breakdown
Often when employees resist change, an organization’s decision-makers cannot understand how ideas they have spent weeks, months, or years carefully deliberating could be so quickly rejected. They forget that employees have not had this time to contemplate and get used to the new ideas themselves. Instead of helping to ease employee fears, executives or supervisors may double down on the change, more strictly enforcing new rules and showing little patience for disagreements or concerns.
And it is here that the entire implementation effort can break down and start costing the organization real dollars and cents. Employees resist change in many destructive ways, from taking very slow learning curves to new procedures to calling in sick when they are not to filing formal complaints or lawsuits. Some might even quit. So, by not engaging in change management, you are more likely to experience reduced productivity, bad morale, and increased turnover.
Recognize the importance
The specific steps you can take to effectively execute change management will depend on the size and nature of your organization as well as what kind of change you are implementing. However, it is important to first familiarize yourself with its importance. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for more information on successfully implementing change.