Engaging Employees in the Change Process
In today’s dynamic world, change is inevitable. Organizations have to embrace change to remain competitive and retain market position. Factors such as new technologies, new opportunities, competition, regulations, and poor performance are used in determining if a change is needed. Before embracing change, an organization must determine if it is structurally ready to support change. Most importantly, organizations should use proper tactics to engage employees and also measure the performance of the change initiative. A change process that uses proper tactics to engage employees addresses individual, social, financial, and organizational concerns.
Factors used to determine if a change is needed in a given organization
Several factors are useful in determining if a change is needed in a given organization. The first factor is technological changes. New technologies continue to emerge. These technologies are more economical and efficient. Delivering quality products or services is always a good thing for any organization. But, it is even better if this is done at a cheaper price. These technologies can range from better ways of sharing data, communicating, to new production materials (Rizescu & Tileage, 2016). As long as the technology can bring long-run benefits for an organization, then it should be pursued.
The second factor is the new opportunities. The world is constantly changing. This means new opportunities are presenting themselves. For example, new markets are opening up globally. When such opportunities present themselves, organizations should embrace change and take advantage of them (Rizescu & Tileage, 2016). Welcoming these changes especially in difficult times is the best strategy to succeed.
The third factor is competition. When competitors are doing better, then an organization needs change. For any organization to improve its market position, it must strive constantly. This includes responding to changes taking place in the marketplace. The fifth factor is the regulation (Rizescu & Tileage, 2016). Government forces such as deregulation, foreign exchange rates, anti-trust laws, and protectionism determine if an organization needs change.
Then, there are internal factors useful in determining if an organization needs change. For example, there is an unsatisfactory performance. When an organization is underperforming, then something needs to be changed (Rizescu & Tileage, 2016). The change would help rectify the current situation and improve performance. Changes are required to ensure that the organization meets its set goals and objectives.
Factors used to determine if an organization is structurally ready to support change
Several factors can be used in determining if an organization is structurally ready to support change. The first factor is the perspective of change in an organization. An organization is structurally ready to support change if everyone in the organization recognizes that change is constant and continuous. This includes the board of directors down to employees in the front administrative and production positions. An organization structure should present change as something that is always there (SHRM, 2015). This means that the organization has dealt successfully with a continuous stream of changes.
The second factor is the delegation of responsibilities. An organizational structure that is ready to support change shows clearly who is responsible for controlling the change. The third factor is flexibility. An organizational structure that is ready to support change is flexible. Being adaptive enough means that the organization has the opportunity to accommodate changes (SHRM, 2015). The fourth factor is communication. An effective organizational structure during change would promote effective communication. Through effective communication, employees will have the right information at the right time. This reduces potential resistance to change.
The fifth factor in determining if an organization is ready for change is culture. With a thorough assessment of culture, it is possible to assess if an organization is ready for change or not. Through the assessment, organizations can identify core values, behaviors, and beliefs that have to be considered for successful change implementation (SHRM, 2015). Also, through cultural assessment, organizations can prepare for the unexpected during change implementation.
In conclusion, an organization is structurally ready to support change if; first, it promotes the ability of the organization to redefine itself as needed. Second, if it promotes the organization’s ability to engage everyone in pending changes. Third, if it promotes the organization’s ability to properly analyze issues, risks, and manage employee’s reactions (Musselwhite & Plouffe, 2010). Lastly, if it promotes change mechanisms that encourage clear alignment of goals across functions and the ability to incorporate change into the existing system.
Tactics used to engage employees in the change process
Organizations can use various tactics to engage employees in the change process. The first tactic is creating a common vision. With a clear vision, confusion will be eliminated during the change process. Creating a vision is not enough. It must be communicated effectively. Studies show that most organizations have failed in change implementation due to poor communication. A communication plan is required to reinforce the vision of change (SHRM, 2020). The employees should always be informed about the process.
The second tactic is aligning the vision with organizational structure. When the change vision aligns with organizational structure, employees tend to be more engaged (SHRM, 2020). The problem is that the existing structure is most probably unfit for the vision. In such a case, organizations have to alter their structure to align it with the vision.
The third tactic is HR professionals acting as change agents. To foster employee engagement, HR professionals have to effectively manage change as change agents. This involves several steps. The first step is initiating the change process. This involves informing the employees why the organization needs to implement a certain change. The second step is sustaining change (SHRM, 2020). This involves embedding change mentality within the organizational structure. This can be done by creating an open feedback culture. The third step is identifying key drives of motivation.
The fourth tactic used to engage employees is offering training opportunities. For a new system to fit the new vision, training is required. The training helps employees to develop new technical skills and develop new thinking and behavioral skills essential for the change process (Hackett & Liu, 2015). Through training, employees also feel the organization cares about their success. They feel valued. So, training opportunities becomes a better way of engaging employees.
The fifth tactic is acting as the champion of change. Organizational leaders need to be dynamic role models to engage employees throughout the change process. This involves letting employees know that the leader is personally committed to the process (Hackett & Liu, 2015). This is done by removing possible barriers to change, providing necessary resources, measuring project progress, and managing change resistance effectively.
Effects of change on individual, social, financial, and corporate concerns.
Change initiatives have several effects on individual employees. First, when an organization goes through a successful change process, individuals develop confidence. They become more motivated in carrying out tasks that make things easier for them. In a successful initiative, individual performance also improves (Jalagat, 2016). This means that individuals impacted by the change initiative are progressing through the change journey. Among the measures used in measuring individual performance include engagement, participation, buy-ins, behavioral change, satisfaction, and employee feedback (Jalagat, 2016). Change initiatives improve how people interact and relate to an organization. These effects are measured by employee collaboration and teamwork. A successful process will bring employees closer.
Change initiatives have effects on financial results. An effective process should improve profitability. For credible reporting, determining the financial impact of change requires involvement if the finance department. This ensures that the calculation method is consistent with the accepted principles of accounting (Jalagat, 2016). If the financial results are positive, the initiative was effective. If the results are not as desired, then there is a need to identify areas of improvement.
Change initiatives enable organizations to address their concerns. They help organizations to achieve what was expected. This is measured in terms of organizational performance. These measures show if an organization has achieved the desired outcomes or not (Jalagat, 2016). The most common organizational performance metrics include readiness for change, adherence to the change plan, execution plan, adherence to the planned timeline, and performance improvements.
For organizations to remain competitive in today’s dynamic world, they have to embrace change. For a successful change process, organizations have to use proper tactics to engage employees. This is the only way of experiencing positive effects at the individual and organizational levels. These techniques include creating a common vision, aligning the vision with organizational structure, HR professionals acting as change agents, offering training opportunities, giving project ownership to the team, and creating a flexible organizational culture.
Hackett, A. & Liu, D. (2015). How Do You Effectively Engage Employees During Times of Change and Uncertainty? Cornell University, 1-8.
Jalagat, R. (2016). The Impact of Change and Change Management in Achieving Corporate Goals and Objectives: Organizational Perspective. International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), 5(11), 1233-1239.
Musselwhite, C. & Plouffe, T. (2010). Four Ways to Know Whether You are ready for Change. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2010/06/four- ways-to-know-whether-you
Rizescu, A. & Tileage, C. (2016). Factors Influencing Continuous Organisational Change. Journal of Defense Resources Management, 7 2(13), 139-144.
SHRM (2015). Understanding Organizational Structures. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and- samples/toolkits/pages/understandingorganizationalstructures.aspx
SHRM (2020). Five Ways to Engage Employees in Change. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/0314-tools.aspx