Managing organizational change can be one of the most challenging obstacles that your company faces. Especially when a person who was integral or well-liked leaves, you could have your work cut out for you.
In the following article, we’ll be looking at six ways that you can actually succeed at doing this. In fact, taking these approaches could even leave your company or organization in a better position than you found it.
Reasons for Change
Before we get to the strategies that work, however, it helps to understand the reasons you’re going through a change in the first place. Change isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s important to be aware of how uncomfortable it makes people feel.
In fact, one study conducted among 600 respondents in 2015 found that two-thirds said uncertainty about the future left them feeling worried and one in three people would avoid change altogether if given the option. As we explore the reasons your company is likely facing change, it’s easy to see why.
Performance Has Declined
When a salesperson isn’t selling, he won’t have a job for long. When an entire division is viewed as “non-essential” to the company’s survival, the workers in that division tend to get understandably uneasy as revenue falls.
It’s common for organizations to experience sudden, drastic, and often unpleasant changes as their own performances (or the performance of their industry) decline.
Rebranding Is Necessary
America, in particular, is going through a racial reckoning with the rise of Black Lives Matter, the debate over Critical Race Theory, and the recognition of systemic racism in many of its institutions. This type of environment has caused many brands to reevaluate what they’re putting out into the world.
Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben were two recent examples of companies that changed everything from the top down to survive the times. Rebranding had become necessary, and that required significant changes.
You Have Lost Key Personnel
In any organization, some people are harder to replace than others. Unfortunately, you can’t always be ready when it’s time to replace those individuals. If you’ve had a recent high-profile departure or lost a lot of institutional knowledge from en masse retirees, then you’ll have quite a bit of change ahead to navigate.
Seizing an Opportunity
Yes, some change is actually good. When high-speed Internet exploded around the world, it created numerous opportunities for startups, influencers, and even hobbyists to make a living doing what they love. Organizations large and small should be open to these types of opportunities as well.
6 Strategies for Change
Now that you know why change is necessary, it’s time to develop the right strategies for moving forward. Here’s what you should do.
1. Put Yourself in the Role of Your People
The first thing you should do is think about how the change will be perceived from the perspective of your people. Even if you’re simply seizing a promising opportunity and the impetus is positive, you can’t assume that’s how it will be perceived.
You have to be close to your people. Know what the proverbial talk around the water cooler is (i.e., the speculation, gossip, rumors, etc.).
2. Commit to Communication
Central to any part of organizational change management is the need to communicate. If you’ve done the work of no. 1, then you’re ready to communicate in an effective manner that actually builds hope instead of distrust.
Do it head-on by having a face-to-face with your employees (if possible). Address each fear, concern, or misinformation that has been circulating, and open yourself to questions.
3. Empower Management
No matter which types of organizational change you are experiencing (see above), it’s only possible to get through it with the help of your frontline supervisors. You need their commitment to the plan.
The only way to get their buy-in is to empower them to do what they need to do. Do this by equipping them with the strategies they need to be successful and the confidence that you will give them the tools and resources and authority they need to make the right decisions.
4. Emphasize the Opportunities
Retraining opportunities are among the most noticeable examples of organizational change that can be effective. If employees feel that you are committed to helping them expand their skills and knowledge to become more valuable to future efforts, then they will feel more at ease.
Therefore, you have to emphasize opportunities where they exist. Don’t just come in and tell your employees you have to reduce staff. Tell them why they’re still there and what they can do to become more valuable assets (i.e., a management training program or special training on the horizon).
At the same time, you can explain new opportunities that are coming available as a result of the changes that your company recently made (or is in the process of making). This will breed more excitement than apprehension.
5. Name Your Successes and Failures
You don’t always have to do this aloud, especially with low-level employees, but you do need to be mindful of them. Look at the things you’re doing right as an organization, the things that could use improvement, and the endeavors that just didn’t measure up.
Analyze all of them on a granular level. Change or readjust what you can, cut what you can’t, or double down on what’s working.
6. Get Feedback
Incorporating your people in the direction you should go is yet another organizational change management tip that can guide you. You might even consider outsourcing this and other parts of the communication strategy to a company that specializes in it. Visit this website for an example.
Managing Organizational Change Is a Challenge You Can Conquer
Managing organizational change requires a firm grasp of all the moving parts of your entity. You need a clear idea of who will be affected, how they’ll be affected, and what you can do to earn their trust.
With the right strategies in place, you can work whatever changes lie ahead to your advantage. For more business tips and strategies, check out some of our additional posts!