Change is inevitable. All businesses go through change. And yet change management is something many employers struggle with. We can help you take your business and your employees through major change events.
What is change management?
Your business hopefully has a strategy and a plan to implement it. These define the journey your business is on. A journey from where you are now, to where you want to be.
That, by definition, must involve change. How you manage that change has a direct affect on how successfully you make that journey. You need to bring your workforce with you on that journey. You want to maintain high levels of motivation and satisfaction, minimising conflict and attrition. Unhappy, demotivated employees resist change and undermine productivity.
Change management is all about making that journey successful. Anticipating the bumps in the road ahead and taking steps to avoid them, or at least smooth them out. Proactively planning your change strategy can increase employee engagement and reduce change resistance.
People generally resist change. There are many psychological factors behind change resistance and numerous research papers on the topic.
Ironically, people are generally receptive to the principle of change. Many successful political campaigns were founded on the promise of change. The idea of a change for the better is usually popular, no matter how vague and hand-wavy. So, the idea that change is needed might be easy to sell at first…But the devil is always in the detail. People start to worry about how the change might affect them. They will start looking for downsides (real or imagined). This is when change resistance really takes hold.
When confronted by change resistance, it can be tempting to just push harder. However, using authority to force change through is rarely effective. In fact, it’s often counter-productive.
People will consciously or unconsciously resist. Passive aggressive behaviours will emerge. You will become increasingly reliant on coercive authority. Eventually, you’ll end up with demotivated employees, even among your top talent. Some may decide to leave, uncomfortable with the bad atmosphere.
However, this doesn’t mean the change you wanted was bad. It probably means you could have managed the change better.
By far the easiest way to implement change is to have your employees (including your managers) on board.
Involving people in the change process usually makes them less resistant. However, some changes are sensitive or need handling confidentially. This might limit the amount of direct involvement employees can have. But there are other approaches that can help employees feel engaged with the change process.
Communication is essential. People are usually quick to notice when something is up. As a result, if you don’t communicate at all, you create an information gap. People fill information gaps by making up their own information. And who makes up good news?
Many conflicts within business occur on change boundaries. These could include employee grievances, conflict within the management or having to deal with unions or employee consultation groups.
How we can help you
We can work with you on planning and implementing change in your business. There are many change scenarios we can assist with, for example:
- Mergers & acquisitions
- Management & leadership reorganisation
- Process or workflow changes
- Employment contract changes
Our approach seeks to reduce resistance, minimise conflict and preserve employee relations. If any conflict does occur, we can help you manage it in a professional, non-adversarial manner.
If you want to discuss change management in your business, please contact us today.