Why employers need to practice change management
When an organization changes — whether it’s something as drastic as a merger or as seemingly innocuous as a new software system — employees may feel threatened. People tend to desire stability and order as opposed to disruption and uncertainty.
Employers can minimize the negative fallout from such shifts in direction through a carefully considered, formalized approach called change management. Organizational change management involves creating a customized plan for ensuring that affected employees receive the awareness, leadership, training and coaching needed to change successfully. Here’s a closer look at why such an approach is necessary.
Take employees’ perspective
People resist change in an organization for many reasons, among them:
- A loss of security or status (whether real or perceived),
- Inconvenience and unfamiliarity,
- Distrust of their employers’ motives, and
- Simply thinking the “old way is better.”
Anyone would naturally get nervous when they feel their jobs, careers or valued working relationships are on the line because of change.
It doesn’t help the situation when certain initial changes appear to make employees’ jobs more difficult. For example, moving to a new location might enhance an organization’s image or provide more productive facilities. But doing so also may increase some employees’ commuting times or put employees in a drastically different working environment. When their daily lives are affected in such ways, employees tend to question the decision and experience high levels of anxiety.
By not engaging in change management, you’re more likely to experience reduced productivity, bad morale and increased turnover. Employees may resist change in destructive ways, from taking very slow learning curves to new procedures, to calling in sick when they aren’t, to filing formal complaints. Some might even quit.
At hb&k, we constantly talk about the importance of continuous improvement so that when changes happen, everyone will feel more comfortable. To improve, you must change and so we have become accustomed to making regular modifications to our processes. For years, we have challenged the idea that we must continue with a process simply because “it’s always been done that way”. In the beginning, this notion was difficult (accounting firms tend to be notorious for being traditional) but over time and with proper communication and guidance, it has become much easier to implement changes.
Recognize the importance
The specific steps you can take to effectively execute change management will depend on the size and nature of your organization as well as what kind of change you’re implementing. But it’s important to first familiarize yourself with its importance. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm for more information on successfully implementing change.