Organisational change refers to a strategic or operational alteration of the current work patterns with the aim of replacing unnecessary activities. With the radical changes observed in the contemporary business environment, firms should initiate certain changes to retain their competitive advantage. While such changes are necessary to an organisation, poor management during the execution of change results in outright failure. Research indicates that about 70% of changes initiated by various firms fail due to poor implementation and planning strategies (Drori, Meyer, & Hwang 2006). Communication deficit is cited as one of the reasons that lead to such failures. Communication with the key stakeholders is essential to counter resistance. This paper explores the elements of change management coupled with highlighting the factors that contribute to the success of an organisational change. Besides, the paper describes the role of communication when effecting such changes.
Success factors for organisational change
Planning entails developing and documenting the proposed changes for viability analysis. Effective planning is essential since it identifies the strengths and challenges of the proposed change. Additionally, ways to deal with contingencies arising in the implementation stage are devised (Ab Wahid & Corner 2009). In the planning stage, details regarding the change are explained before setting the desired goals. Moreover, the role of each stakeholder about the change is defined coupled with mobilising the required resources. At this stage, the change manager identifies feasible ways to deal with the various crises such as resistance from the workforce. The objectives of the change should be indicated and communicated clearly to employees (Vakola & Wilson 2004). Poor planning may lead to failure during the implementation stage, and thus change managers ought to plan effectively before embarking on the execution.
All the stakeholders involved in the implementation of the proposed change should work as a team under the guidance of the goals of the proposed change. The leaders should demonstrate their understanding of the change process and offer guidance to their subordinates whenever necessary. However, employees should be allowed to perform some tasks independently to boost their motivation (Fernandez & Rainey 2006). Leaders should act as role models and demonstrate competence throughout the process to encourage their subordinates to embrace the change.
Communication is essential for the successful implementation of the proposed change. The masterminds of the change should communicate the entire process to the involved stakeholders (Daly, Teague, & Kitchen 2003). Importantly, the change manager should describe the desired goals, the roles of each staff member, and the overall process of implementation. Employees should also be apprised of the effects that the change may have on the day-to-day operations of the firm. Changes in performance appraisal strategies after the full implementation of the proposed change should also be communicated to the employees. The communication system established at the start of the process should continue until the change is effected fully.
In most cases, organisational change entails the replacement of the current processes and introducing entirely new methods. Most changes entail the introduction of IT platforms, which most employees may be reluctant to adopt for fear of frustrations. Additionally, employees may not be well equipped to handle the new processes, thus the need to launch training programs to prepare them for the change (Stanleigh 2008). Providing employees with the necessary skills ensures that the desired goals are accomplished. Besides, this move eliminates the fear that the new changes may claim the employees’ jobs. All employees in the organisation including the managers should receive such training to ensure that they participate in the implementation process. The timing of the training is critical, and thus it should be done in advance to allow employees apply the knowledge acquired prior to the change process.
Feedback and Recognition
The change managers should make constant appraisals during the execution of the process to guarantee compliance with the set procedures. After making such appraisals, the group’s leader should prepare a detailed report on the progress and share it with the employees and other partners involved in the process (Edmonds 2011). Regular appraisals enable managers to detect deviations, which may derail the implementation process if not detected in time. Proper guidance is then offered to relevant departments to avoid the recurrence of the noticed deviations. The departments that comply with the set procedures should be recognised and given public attention to motivate the rest of the workforce.
Importance of communication in organisational change
While the top managers may initiate organisational change, employees are the field implementers of the proposed plans in their respective departments. Most employees tend to exhibit resistance due to fears and concerns aroused by such changes. Some employees may be of the view that the changes will deprive them of their jobs, which explains their resistance (Simoes & Esposito 2014). Therefore, the communication of the change process is essential to eliminate the preconceived notions within the workforce. Failure to feed employees with the right information regarding the change may force them to seek information from other sources. The information obtained from such sources may be manipulated hence amplifying the resistance.
Organisational changes are premised on well-defined missions and visions, which the company intends to achieve. Consequently, it is necessary for an organisation to embrace the concept of teamwork to achieve the set objectives. The change process must be communicated to every stakeholder to ensure that the staff members work as a team towards the achievement of the set goals (Carnall 2007). Some employees may be of the view that the changes being made are meant to benefit managers and other top leaders. Therefore, managers ought to apprise the staff members about the importance and the objectives of the endeavour to avert such notions that may affect the teamwork spirit.
Lastly, communicating the change process leads to motivation, and it encourages innovation. It allows employees to suggest the best ways to implement the proposed changes. Allowing employees to set the standards of such change motivates them since it instils a sense of inclusiveness in the decision-making process (Chrusciel & Field 2006). Besides, employees tend to be motivated when working to achieve goals that they have set.
The topic of change management has attracted numerous researchers who seek to uncover the reasons why such plans fail. Different scholars have come up with various theories regarding the success factors. The factors that most scholars have highlighted include proper planning, effective communication, training, constant appraisals, and the involvement of all the stakeholders in the change process. However, communication has received much attention owing to the view that the inappropriate execution may cause resistance from employees. In most cases, employees are reluctant to embrace change for fear of frustrations or loss of jobs. For the change process to be successful, the objectives and the consequences of the endeavour should be communicated to the employees.
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