5 Ways to Manage Organizational Change

Tips for a Smooth Transition When Implementing Big Changes Within Your Company


The ability to successfully introduce and execute organizational change is attained by winning support of the workers. If the employees are not holistically involved in change management, they are likely to show resistance in acceptance and implementation. Intuitive change communication is the cornerstone of initiating a flourishing change program. In order for businesses to avoid conflicts and poor response in managing change, it should be communicated in advance, and throughout all phases of the process.

When communicating change to the employees, managers should avoid the following things:

1. Moving Too Fast
As a way to transform from a current undesired state to a promising future status, businesses make decisions to bring in changes in their processes. The most affected persons in any change in a company are the employees, who are the implementers. When an impending change is communicated abruptly, this is faced with a lot of challenges. Whether it is a technological innovation, change in business process, adoption of new process like mergers and acquisitions, or even lay off of employees, all these business process adjustments need to be communicated in advance.

According to Tower Watson’s Change and Communication ROI Study released in 2011, it depicted that companies that are effective in communicating and managing change are 21/2 times more likely to do better than their peers. Communicating change unexpectedly, can result to intolerance and resistance. Workers need to be given enough time to get prepared psychologically of any change introduction and execution in a company.

2. Failure to Involve ALL Stakeholders
Often than not, top managers feel that they are the principal messengers and conveyors of decisions arrived at during a change execution often overlooking the front line managers. The communication channel should structurally be designed to ensure that any change communication is initiated with the involvement of each and every stakeholder including the middle managers. A good communication channel design creates confidence, support, credibility as well as respect among all change management stakeholders.

3. Don’t Be Impersonal
When communicating change to the workers, managers — including top level and front line leaders — should take the word to the people. Managers should steer clear of using email and message boards to make important announcements. Higher-ups must be seen among the cubicles to put in face time and engage the workers on a personal level. This way, they are able to learn the feelings, mood and expressions of the employees. They can also get hands-on information on any change implementation setbacks and ideas that need their input.

4. Avoid Being a Dictator
Because the changes being implemented may not be received with complete support from all rank and file workers, any attempt by the employees to resist it should not induce an authoritative tone of communication. Change is likely to go over much more smoothly if employees don’t feel like mandates are being shoved down their throats. Managers should learn to use a neutral tone that is persuasive but not forceful. This makes employees feel they are a part of the plan and should be consulted, but not compelled, to act on issues. The goal is to empower them to initiate the change on their own.

5. Don’t Micromanage
Managers are occasionally compelled to insert themselves too much during times of great change, especially when they do not see the desired results. However, when managers start interfering with the implementation process by pinpointing what should and shouldn’t be done, they begin taking away the powers and confidence they have instilled within the employees. Employees need to be left to discover the best ways to execute change and managers should come in as facilitators. Giving the employees the chance to take control of the implementation process enables them adopt the change easily, quickly and intuitively. Managers can be surprised how innovative the workers can be when they are given the chance and support.

In a nutshell, management should create a sense of ownership for an organization in any change initiation program while giving employees the support they need to cope and implement change.

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