Change is a constant in today’s organisations. In a Recent CIPD survey it found more than half of all employees said that their organisation has been going through some kind of major change during the last year. Most organisations more than ten years old look nothing like they did even five years ago. And it is likely that in the next year or two organisations will not look as they do today. Below are 6 factors that drive and influence change In any organisation.
3 Internal factors
Restructure, organisations have downsized and delayered; ‘leanness’ means doing more with less, so individual employees have to carry more weight. Finance, Businesses will want to implement the newest technologies and hire the best employees but if the organisation is financially cash strapped it will hold back the company’s drive to change. Culture, when an organisation has a new management team you will often find a shift in the company’s culture.
3 External factors
Customers are becoming ever more demanding; quality and service standards are constantly going up.
Customers drive an organisation to change- without customers you cannot survive as a business. Legislation, every year the government and the European Union can bring in new laws organisations have to abide with. Technology, evolving computer systems and new technologies require organisations to stay current. Technology affects everything in the company from marketing, communication to systems. Slow ineffective service will turn customers away, frustrate employees and possibly cost more than implementing current technology.
Change has great impact on an organisation’s business.
Change impacts on everyone and all of the employees; some may find the changes positive and approach it with enthusiasm but the majority will struggle with change and react negatively. Research tells us productivity is dramatically reduced when organisations are going through a change period. The change evokes emotion in employees such an anxiety, depression and fear. The change can affect the employee’s psychological contract and they can become demotivated.
If companies find the change is having a negative effect on employees firstly they can make sure they hear the official information not just rumours then involve employees and encourage ownership of the change, try to identify those who are in favour of the changes as champions as well as allowing employees to have influence and input in the design and makeup of the changes.
Change can also effect reputation for good or bad reasons. Customers are the drive of a company and if a company makes the wrong change they will lose reputation and sales. Once a reputation has taken a knock the organisation has double the work to regain customers.
Communication has to be the key factor involved in the change process. If you want employees to feel positive and enthusiastic about the new changes communication is a vital part. Change needs to be repeated to stick, without constant reiteration employees could be tempted to disregard any changes and look to carry on as they are, you cannot over communicate. Lack of communication will lead to employees feeling frustrated. Staying positive will develop a positive climate and culture while change happens.
Another key process of change is training. Whether it is a new computer system or new management team when implementing a change of culture, organisations have to provide tools and time for employees to embrace the change and move forward with the company. If training is done well, employees will have plenty of time to attend courses, management should understand that workload may be less productive until new systems are in place but should leave employees feeling positive and motivated.
Lewin- 3 Stage change model
1 Unfreezing – lowering resistance to change by recognising and accepting the need for change.
2 Movement – developing new attitudes to encourage behaviours necessary for change to occur.
3 Refreezing – stabilising, supporting and reinforcing the new change conditions.
Lewin’s model is very rational, goal and plan oriented. The change looks good on paper, as it makes rational sense, but when implemented the lack of considering human feelings and experiences can have negative consequences
Lippitt (Watson, Westley)- 7 steps
Lippitt’s Phases of Change is an extension of Lewin’s Three-Step Theory. The focus on Lippitt’s change theory is on the change agent rather than the change itself. Diagnose the problem.
Assess the motivation and capacity for change.
Assess the resources and motivation of the change agent.
Choose progressive change objects.
The role of the change agents should be selected and clearly understood by all parties so that expectations are clear.
Maintain the change. Communication, feedback, and group coordination are essential elements in this step of the change process.
Gradually terminate from the helping relationship. The change agent should gradually withdraw from their role over time.
Thurleys 5 approaches to Change
Hearts and Minds
Thurleys module is aimed at the employee and how to manage them. Clearly planned, little involvement of others and attempt to overcome resistance.
J M Fisher, The process of transition lists 9 behavioural responses people demonstrate when experiencing change. Anxiety, happiness, Fear, Threat, Guilt, Depression, Disillusionment, Hostility and denial. A majority of these behaviours are seen to be negative but all can be helped with support from HR.
Anxiety- lack of concentration, withdrawn, stressed and worried should be reassured with positive communication. Listening to the employees concerns and keeping them well informed. Very similar to the depressed behaviour again guidance and face to face communication can really help these employees.
Happiness- smiling, laughter, enthusiastic and chatty. Should receive support and encouragement but be aware that these employees need to know their expectations may not be met and may leave them feeling frustrated.
Hostility- bad mouthing company, argumentative and unapproachable. These employees need to be treated sensitively to defuse the situation, once defused you should educate and encourage the positive of the change.
Everyone reacts to change differently and may not experience all the stages or in a particular order. Everyone’s feelings/reaction should be treated on an individual basis. Though not all the same a constant throughout is that HR and senior management should make sure employees are well informed, listened to and motivated. Communication is key for employees during a change process.
HR plays an important role supporting individuals during organisational changes. HR has a clear role and responsibility to ensure employees have a voice, they have access to clear communications. These areas should be appropriately and effectively addressed as part of change management. 4 main responsibilities are:
Advisory- including redundancy process, contract changes, unions and helping employees look for new roles/ amend C.Vs if in a redundancy situation
Administrative- taking notes, sending letters, keeping job descriptions up to date and most importantly keeping employees up to date with any organisation information. Training- interview technics and coaching
Support- listen, counselling, supporting managers and persuading employees to stay with the company.
Workshops are great tool for organisational changes. They allow employees to feel involved in the process and put ideas forward. Workshops can break down barriers between employees and management, it is an empowering tool. HR should facilitate these workshops but not express opinion or coach, the point of the workshop is to get employee to help with the change and they will feel motivated and participate in the change.
Change is the only constant in life, organisations should make communication the key during a transitional period. Success of implementing change depends largely on the way change is managed. HR does not take on the role of change agent. The duty is not to perform change but is to ensure that change is implemented. HR contributions are mostly about implementing structures, systems etc that support change. HR should motivate, communicate and involve people in change management, as well as provide proper training and development programmes so that employees can upgrade their skills, behaviours to adapt to change. When dealing with employees don’t try and make “one size fit all’. Everyone deals with change differently.
CIPD- Managing change- the role of the psychological contract http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/factsheets/change-management.aspx#link_0 http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Kritsonis,%20Alicia%20Comparison%20of%20Change%20Theories http://archive.excellencegateway.org.uk/media/ferl_and_aclearn/ferl/resources/organisations/3T%20Productions/CHANGE%20MANAGEMENT%20ISBN.pdf