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Supporting change within organisations
The purpose of this report is to describe the impact of change within an organisation, to understand the key factors involved in the change process and different approaches to managing change. And finally, how it impacts on employees and the role of HR in supporting this.
The Gluten Free Pie Company is an independent business borne out of its founders’ food allergies and ethical choices. As a vegan with celiac disease and intolerance to soy, Denise Pendleton the founder, struggled to eat out at restaurants as there were literally no options apart from a plain salad for her to choose from.
Having worked in the food industry for many years and with a passion for home baking she saw a gap in the market for Gluten free plant based pies and decided to start creating pies and selling them in the local shop in Sheffield. They went down a storm and over the last few years she saw demand growing and production was starting to lag behind so things needed to change.
The change was being driven by both internal and eternal factors. Internal: Communication is key, successful organisations perform at their best when there a clear line of communication from the top, where people can communicate freely this leads often to improved results. In a very small organisation, one which is husband and wife led, this can lead to an overflow of personal issues into business time. Where communication is misconstrued it can often lead to a destruction of trust and put pressure on the personal relationship outside of work.
Taking on extra people helps dilute the environment freeing up communication with a fresh pair of eyes leading to a more positive work place. Capital resources: money is of course essential for the optimal functioning of any organisation, when constantly ploughing the same money back in, any small setback such as illness stops production as the money isn’t there to have a contingency, so profits immediately fall and it’s a vicious cycle which needs a larger cash injection. Operational efficiency: the way a business operates directly affects their success in the marketplace. This is made up of a few factors such as products, customers, employee. The business owner needs to fully understand the different roles of employees within the organisation, how it is received within the marketplace, how employees perform their tasks, what improvements can be made etc. Only when the level of efficiency is understood can adjustments be made to tackle current issues.
External factors are more or less the opposite of internal factors as they are not under the control of the company. Considering the outside environment allows the organisation to make adjustments to their marketing strategy to make it more adaptable to the outside environment. There are numerous criteria that can be classed as external such as current economic situation, laws, political uncertainty, infrastructure and customer demands. Economic situation: economy can be one of the most determining factors to the success of a business as there are many elements within it such as fluctuating interest rates, economic crisis, all this affects consumers spending power /disposable income all of which affects profit. Legislation: government brings in different rules and regulations that companies must abide by, that can affect paying employees eg minimum wage, pensions etc and within the food industry, Food hygiene standards etc. Customer demand: this can be lead by many things too such as what is deemed fashionable or following a certain trend at the time, it can also be very fickle and a downturn in demand need to have contingency plans.
Change affects organisations in many different ways, within some organisations it can be a constant activity. It can be voluntary and brought about for positive business reasons or forced such as restructuring within an economic downturn eg staffing: if a company undergoes rapid growth there will be a need to add more employees, focussing on recruitment and restructure, possibly altering job descriptions and functions. Communication is a key factor involved in the change process. Without it, this can be a time of confusion for employees and can lead to negativity, handled correctly by HR it can be turned into a positive experience. Change often leads to a need for more training. Whether it be a completely new product, a new computer system, enabling employees to feel confident that they are fully up to speed with how new products work due to the correct training can prevent anxiety and fear and promote a feeling of optimism that the company is moving forward.
There are many different approaches to change within an organisation and many different models about how to approach this have been developed through the years. Lewins model is one of the most popular and effective one that people refer to, created back in the 1950s its still relevant today:
Unfreeze-this requires the organisation to prepare to change and to undertsand that it is necessary, as most people are resistant . If explained well and how it creates profit that is beneficial to them there will be a more positive experience.
Change- This is the actual transitional moment, during which its essential the leadership takes to reassure that things are heading in the correct direction
Refreeze- this is a time of stabilisation after change has been accepted and implemented, with staff returning back into a routine they become confident in the changes that have occurred.
McKinsey 7 stage model was developed in the 1980s and is till used successfully today:
Strategy- a plan which is created to beat competitors and achieve future goals
Structure-the way the organisation is divided/structured
Systems-the way in which things happen on a day to day basis
Shared values-refer to the core values of the company
Style-The manner in which the changes and leadership are implemented is known as ‘style’
Staff-The employees and their capabilities
Skills-The competencies as well as other skills possessed by the employees
Advantages: This model offers ways in which to gain a deep understanding of the organisation. It combines emotional and practical elements to help employees deal with the change. It offers a balanced view as it considers all parts need addressing equally and also offers directional factors to the change.
Disadvantages: As all the factors are linked to one another if one part fails, it can have a knock on effect to everything else. Its quite a complicated model and experience has reported that businesses who tend to follow this have experienced more failure.
Kotters change management theory is divided into 8 stages, each one focussing on a key principle that is associated with the responses of people to change:
Increase urgency-this implies that a sense of urgency is required to get people motivated toward an objective
Build the team-get the right people onboard in the first place with a mixture of skill sets and knowledge
Get the vision correct-by taking into account people’s creativity and emotional connections toward the objective
Communicate-this is very important when dealing with change
Get things moving- its necessary to remove obstacles and gain support in implementing feedback in a constructive way
Focus on short term goals-dividing the end goal into smaller more manageable parts make it more likely to be successful
Don’t give up-Persistence is the key to success, no matter how tough things may appear
Incorporate change- hopefully if change is manged correctly it should then fall in to place within the organisation
The benefits of this model is that it is easy to follow and incorporate to an organisation whilst preparing and accepting the change. However conversely it can be time consuming as there are so many steps and its not advisable to skip any stages.
I think my organisation would benefit mostly for adopting certain elements from all models as it is still a very small company
Peoples behaviour can be very different when change occurs. They tend to follow the change curve which starts with shock, denial, anger, blame, bargain, apathy, acceptance, explore, understand, integrate and sustain. “Frustration, fear and depression”- is where individuals may start to grudgingly accept that change is really happening but feel there is either nothing they can do about it or think about ways they might resist or frustrate the change process. During this phase employees need emotional and practical support in order for them to start thinking more positively about the change. It is important to acknowledge that emotions are important and real for people. It can be a challenge to get people to listen at this stage, so extra effort must be put into communication.
HR plays an important role supporting individuals through organisational changes. They have to make sure that their employees views and feelings are heard. Advisory: this can be important in a redundancy situation, helping with CVs and applying for new jobs. Support through change by offering counselling, listening mentoring and being the link between managers and employees. Mentoring: Finally support employees who are finding a transition difficult through additional training and mentoring.
In conclusion it can be seen that change is the only constant in life. For successful change within an organisation communication and support is paramount as without it at all stages, employees are likely to not feel heard or valued and therefore be more resistant to the change than if they were consulted, motivated, coached and supported through all the stages.
Bibliography;CIPD website,HR Practice Malcolm martin et al
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