Change to grow
All organisations go through periods of change in order to grow and remain competitive in our ever changing markets.
For each of us, there are many factors that can trigger or increase the need for a change in our organisation. Change can occur in all areas of your business and can entail for example your processes, structure, people management or even your organisation as a whole. Failure to recognise such critical moments or even the failure to implement the correct adaptations within your organisation to accommodate for this increasing need for change can inevitably prove detrimental for your business.
Progress is not possible without change.
Change management is the act of handling and regulating the changes taking place in your company, and most importantly, ensuring that they cause no disruption. The process will occur when an organisation wants to improve an aspect of the business in order to accommodate growth.
The journey to improvement
Managing organisational change can be exciting and rewarding for a variety of reasons.
Change should always be viewed as an improvement as it creates new opportunities to grow in ways you may not have been able to before.
From a HR perspective, setting new goals, targets and standards is ever refreshing. Not only is it different to the work you will have been doing previously, it also encourages you to look to the future with hope and motivation.
Employees are your priority
When it comes to change management, you must ensure that your employees are aware of exactly what is happening around them and where possible, allow them to have a say in what’s going on.
The most successful instances of organisational change always involve employees - particularly in the service sector.
To manage organisational change within companies heavily reliant on its employees, HR support and procedures need to be in place to handle all staff related issues and help the business achieve its set goals.
You must communicate with your employees clearly and along every step of the process to alleviate any anxiety upcoming changes might present.
The consequences of poor HR change management or a lack of communication can create feelings of resistance and distrust within the workforce which will prevent your business from reaching its targets.
When advancements or adjustments occur in our businesses’ environment and out of our control we speak of a macro environmental change. A great example that has affected most businesses is undoubtedly the immense advancements in technology in the past twenty years, and the markets that have been opening up at an impelling speed as a result of consumers becoming more interested in the latest technology.
Because your business cannot influence the macro environment in any way, macro factors will be unavoidable and when changes relevant to your business do occur in these areas they will create a crucial need for you to implement significant changes within your organisation. Macro environmental factors fall in one of the below categories:
- Political factors
- Economic factors
- Socio-cultural factors
- Technology factors
- Environmental factors
- Legal factors
Change management models
Is it the best choice to follow a change management model, recruit an interim manager, set out your own change model or follow generic predefined change management steps?
It all depends on your organisation and the magnitude of the changes you require to reach your desired outcome.
No matter how you choose to implement changes, the reason ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ‘when’ should always be clearly communicated to each employee before you get started. No matter the type of change, you need to keep your employee’s needs, likely response and behaviour in mind.
8-step process to change
There are many change models out there; however the most well-known model is probably that of Dr. Kotter, who set out the 8-step process for leading change some time ago. His model not only won awards and the recognition of many, it also led countless businesses to succeed through the use of his transformative strategies.
The 8-step strategy was originally developed for managers who needed to deal with transformational change within their organisation. Thus its main value derives from its focus on people and the core problems people experience as individuals and as a group when facing transformational changes within their organisation, department and role.
The human touch
The model of Dr. Kotter doesn’t just highlight the importance of human interaction within change processes; it puts humans at its heart.
With that in mind, another popular change management tool to mention is the ‘Nudge Theory’, which further highlights and visualises the human needs of your employees. Within its 7 straightforward steps more than half are based on the communication processes with employees, which should be followed in such a manner that organisations can minimise the resistance to change within their workforce.
Steps to follow focussing on employee engagement and the minimising of resistance:
- Consider changes from your employees’ point of view
- Use evidence to show the best option for the business
- Present the changes as a choice to employees
- Listen to employee feedback
Common mistakes can easily be avoided
It’s not surprising that the majority of mistakes within change management lie within the area of people management.
Employers often fail to understand the impact changes have on individual employees and the resistance it can create when employers fail to adequately communicate goals and processes of change management.
The 12 key mistakes organisations have made are:
- Not allowing staff time to adapt and get used to the idea of change
- Too much talk about change, but too little action
- Failure to convince staff of reasons for change
- No focus on emotional reactions to change, only rational ones
- Failing to deal with resistance of staff and management swiftly
- Failure to communicate the aspired end result
- Failure to manage and monitor aspects of change on a day-to-day basis
- Failure to involve employees with change processes
- Lack of skill sets and resources present within the organisation to manage changes and fulfil additional roles whilst the company goes through the process
- Not measuring the right KPIs during the change process
- Failure to give employees the tools and skills to adapt to change
At first, setting up your change management plan can seem like an impossibly daunting and chaotic task; however there are some great HR support services available to you - so rest assured successful change management is possible for anyone. Implementing change can be an exciting journey for you and your team.
About Sophie van der Singel
Sophie is a strong marketing professional graduated from the NIMA Institute for Marketing in 2015. As an experienced Marketing Manager she works with HR and employment law professionals to offer businesses within the UK the best possible services within the area of HR.
Her passion is to provide services, advice and support to small and medium sized businesses with the goal to make them flourish. With great attention to detail and focus Sophie and her team have helped many businesses achieve their goals.