8 Tips to Help Managers and Employees Deal With Organizational Change

8 Tips to Help Managers and Employees Deal With Organizational Change  

By Peter Barron Stark | March 19th, 2010 | Leading Change / Most Popular Posts

Guiding Employees Through Change

Leader standing in front of employees Change proves to be a challenge not just for supervisors and managers, but for employees as well. This adds another dimension to the already difficult situation: guiding the employees through the change. After all, organizations don’t change, people do.

The following are eight suggestions that will help managers and supervisors guide employees through organizational change.

  1. Involve employees in the change process. Employees are not so much against change as they are against being changed. Any time managers are going to implement organizational change, there is always a lag between the time the change has been discussed at the management level and the time the change is going to be implemented. Managers like to play like an ostrich and believe that they are the only ones who know about the changes that are going to take place. Unfortunately, while their heads are stuck in the sand believing that no one else knows, employees are effectively undermining the future changes with negative informal communication…the company grapevine. The sooner you involve employees in the process, the better off you will be implementing the change. A formal communication channel is more effective at implementing change than a negative informal one.

  2. Interview employees regarding their feelings. It is critical that managers and supervisors understand what employees are feeling regarding the change. It is only when you accurately understand their feelings that you know what issues need to be addressed. Implementing change requires the ability to market and to sell. It is difficult to effectively sell without understanding your buyer’s needs, concerns, and fears.

  3. Concentrate on effective delegation. Too often managers and supervisors feel they must use self-protective measures, especially during organizational change. They start by trying to police all activities. Don’t try to cover all the bases yourself. You should concentrate on effective delegation during the early stages of the change process. Effective delegation is particularly good for two reasons: first, it helps you manage and maintain your workload, and second, it gives your employees a sense of involvement. Involvement positions employees to share responsibility for change.

  4. Raise levels of expectations. Now more than ever, you should ask more from your employees. It is expected that more work needs to be done during the change process. While it may be most practical to expect less in terms of performance, raise your levels of expectations and theirs. During change, employees are more likely to alter their work habits, so reach for the opportunity and push them to try harder and work smarter. Require performance improvements and make the process challenging, but remember to keep goals realistic in order to eliminate frustration and failure.

  5. Ask employees for commitment. Once the change has been announced, it is important that you personally ask for each employee’s commitment to successfully implement the change. It is also important that you assure the employee that if there are problems, you want to hear about them. If a negative employee does not tell you, they will tell other employees why the change will not work.

  6. Expand communication channels. The change process usually means that normal communication channels in the firm need to be enlarged. At this time, your employees will be hungrier than ever for information and answers. You can “beef up” communication. First, give employees an opportunity to give you input. Start by becoming more available and asking more questions. Get employees’ opinions and reactions to the changes. Maintain your visibility and make it clear that you are an accessible boss. More importantly, be a careful listener. Second, keep employees updated on a regular basis. Just letting your employees know that you have no new information is meaningful information to them. Strive to be specific; clear up rumors and misinformation that clutter the communication channels. Remember, it is almost impossible to over communicate.

  7. Be firm, committed, and flexible. As you introduce a change, it is important that you see the change through to completion. Abandoning it halfway through the change process accomplishes two negative impacts. First, it destroys your credibility. Second, it tells every employee that if you take the stance of a dinosaur, the change will pass by, even if you lose your job and become extinct in the process. Remain flexible, because you will have to adapt to situations to successfully implement the changes.

  8. Keep a positive attitude. Your attitude as a manager or supervisor will be a major factor in determining what type of climate is exhibited by your employees. Your attitude is the one thing that keeps you in control. Change can be stressful and confusing. Try to remain upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic. Foster motivation in others. During times of transition and change, try to compensate your employees for their extra effort. Write a brief note of encouragement on their paychecks; leave an affirming message on their voice mail; take them aside and tell them what a great job they are doing; listen to their comments and suggestions. Last, try to instill organizational change as a personal challenge that everyone can meet…with success!

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4 Responses
  • Joe Quicquaro on 06/28/2011

    I meet with my key people tomorrow to initiate significant changes. Years of significant employee nepotism have poisoned my business. I am hoping this will help.
    Thanks for the ideas.

    Reply
    • Peter Stark on 06/29/2011

      Joe,

      I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties you are facing. I wish you the best of luck today and hope everything goes well.

      Reply
  • Tania on 10/23/2012

    Dear Mr Stark,

    Great posts thanks. Very helpful, insightful and practical. Will be using them on my report as part of e-Learning Strategic Team in local primary school as we engage more in the digital age of learning. Will link back to your site and use your credit above.
    Thanks Tania
    Nelson, New Zealand

    Reply
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