Despite the common need of all organizations to stay up-to-date by introducing changes, there is no universal set of recommendations on methods and strategies that can be implemented in order to improve change management and overcome resistance. However, surveys involving interviews and questionnaires of the employees allow making conclusions about the needs of a specific organization. This helps top managers understand how to introduce changes and what personal contribution they have to make for those changes to be adopted successfully (Burke, 2013).
Judging by the provided questionnaire, the following recommendations can be suggested:
Do not try to change everything at once. When rushing up with innovations, you should never forget about the human factor. A considerable transformation of the working process provokes uncertainty and resistance (Vakola, Armenakis, & Oreg, 2013). Any change needs careful preparation, assessment, and gradual application. If you start piling up innovations, it will bring about total confusion and unwillingness to adapt (Cummings & Worley, 2014). According to the survey, the overwhelming majority of the employees agree that constant changes are harmful to the organization.
Start changes at the top of the organization. For the employees to accept innovations, it is essential that the CEO and all top management representatives should show confidence in the success of the venture. However, middle managers are the ones whose mission is the most challenging. The point is that they have to get into personal contact with all the employees, which means that their attitude to changes will be automatically transferred to the others (Carter, Ulrich, & Goldsmith, 2012). The opinion poll shows that almost everyone in the organization agrees that it is the responsibility of managers to assist workers in their attempts to adjust to changes.
Moreover, app. 78% of the respondents claimed that their managers do not devote enough time to training their subordinates to use the newest technologies.
Thus, the statistics prove that when the changes do not come from the top and are not consolidated in the middle, it leads to overall dissatisfaction.
Involve all levels and award initiative. Since all the organizational layers are touched by the changes, it would be fair to give everyone a chance to make a contribution. Creative solutions and improvement suggestions may come from a very much unexpected source (Benn, Dunphy, & Griffiths, 2014). According to the survey, around 30% of the workers have ever attempted to propose innovations.
The percentage is not low but it can be increased if middle managers make more emphasis on creativity and report to top managers about the employees’ innovative proposals for them to be rewarded for the initiative.
Be genuine in your desire to change. It is not uncommon for a company to introduce new approaches and technologies with the only purpose to catch up with its competitors. In such cases, changes are forced without any thorough consideration of their practical purpose and benefits. People need rationale and motivation to accept the idea – otherwise, the change seems pointless (Hayes, 2014). As the questionnaire demonstrates, a worrying number of the employees believe that the company is actually unwilling to change (no matter what innovations it introduces):
Nevertheless, almost all the respondents are positive that they have a great potential to implement advantageous changes.
This means that in most cases, people are ready to go further and adapt to the new; however, what they really need is to feel that the organization is prepared for innovations as well.
Do not neglect the importance of the organizational culture. Transformation programs should take into consideration the corporate culture and accepted blueprints of behavior at each level. It is a widespread mistake to address cultural issues either too late or never. However, if you ignore the presence and significance of this factor, you may fail to predict the employees’ readiness to change. It will bring about inevitable conflicts because of the disagreement with the corporate vision. Sometimes, cultural analysis is required for finding flaws in the organizational structure that should be eliminated before starting to implement any change projects (Burke, 2013). If we look at the survey results, it becomes evident that app. 46% of the workers find that the culture of the organization hinders innovations.
Do not strive for the entire elimination of the traditional strategies and methods. It seems obvious that new technologies are better than the old ones. If a new machine manages to produce more items for a shorter period of time bringing down the occurrence of errors and failures to the possible minimum, it is expected to improve the workflow. Nevertheless, the reality is much more complex. If the organization does not have qualified staff to deal with the new equipment and cannot provide the necessary education in a short period of time, the equipment is likely to bring more expenses than profit. Moreover, it often happens that people are not against technological changes – they are more afraid of social alterations in their relationships (Hayes, 2014). That is why traditional methods should not be totally rejected as they ensure a sense of stability. App. 47% of the respondents stated that sometimes their leaders rush too much with innovations when older methods should be preserved.
Benn, S., Dunphy, D., & Griffiths, A. (2014). Organizational change for corporate sustainability. Abingdon-on-Thames, UK: Routledge.
Burke, W. W. (2013). Organization change: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Carter, L., Ulrich, D., & Goldsmith, M. (2012). Best practices in leadership development and organization change: How the best companies ensure meaningful change and sustainable leadership (Vol. 18). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2014). Organization development and change. Boston, MA: Cengage learning.
Hayes, J. (2014). The theory and practice of change management. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Vakola, M., Armenakis, A., & Oreg, S. (2013). Reactions to organizational change from an individual differences perspective: A review of empirical research. The Psychology of Organizational Change: Viewing Change from the Employee’s Perspective, 5(2), 95-122.