Change is the only thing that is constant; in whatever field you find yourself in, you will experience one form of change or the other. A change may be subtle, mild, partial, or holistic.
The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, brought about unprecedented changes to the way people live, and the way business is conducted.
Organizations had to adopt massive changes to survive. The digital transformation took a new dimension and became the priority in 2021 budgets of 77.3% of Fortune 500 CIOs, relegating cybersecurity to second place.
When people have to adopt a new way of life, there are sometimes pockets of resistance, especially where there is no willingness and conviction. An organizational change does not always sail through easily, but there are ways you can enhance a smooth change.
When you want to embark on organizational change, success should be paramount since you will have to sink in resources; success will depend on the mindset of your employees.
What is the culture of the organization? How flexible is the culture? How quickly can they adapt to the new culture? These are questions you must provide concrete answers to before embarking on organizational change.
Smooth organizational change depends on your organizational change strategies, they will ensure you don’t stall in the process and minimize friction with employees. The precursor you need for success is planning; a smooth change is the result of good preparation.
But, how can you plan an organizational change strategy if you don’t know what type of change you want to embark upon? It’s only when you know the change management model that you can plan a strategy that fits it.
Types of organizational change
The different types of organizational change you have are:
- Organization-wide change – This is a large-scale transformation that runs through the entire organization. You can restructure leadership, incorporate a new policy, or introduce a new enterprise technology.
- Transformational change – This aims at your organizational strategy. For you to undergo a rapid change, your organization must be nimble, adaptable, and prepared to transform your game plans any time there is a need.
- Personnel change – When there is the need to add or reduce your workforce, you embark on personnel change. Both situations can tilt the scale in employee engagement and retention.
- Unplanned change – Unexpected events must be dealt with if the organization must survive. Though these events are unpredictable, they can be handled with good planning, an example of such an event is the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Remedial Change – If your organization is going through an established form of deficiency, you need to quickly do something about your output.
It’s not enough to know the organizational change you want to embark on, you must also know how to make it a smooth process. You can use the following steps to enhance the success of your organizational change.
1. Map out clear goals and a strategy to achieve your goals
If only 54% of change initiatives succeed, then it’s a program you must focus on to ensure the resources you are investing do not go down the drain and that you are on the right track. Organizational change cuts across departments, teams, and job functions.
Who will this organizational change affect? How do you represent their interests? A smooth organizational change will have clearly defined goals; in this era of digital transformation, you must have a digital strategy that specifies how you achieve these goals.
You can only know when you’re on the right track and measure your success if you have a clear-cut aim. Your strategy is your roadmap, and it gives you an insight into what the organization will look like after the change.
The CEO must seek input across the board, so everybody has a sense of belongingness before drafting the vision.
2. Eliminate acts of disruption from employees
Quite often, when brands embark on organizational change, employees tend to resist, especially when they are not convinced that the old culture has to go. Sometimes, they believe you just want to create unnecessary problems for them.
They know that they must undergo some form of training to fit into the new technologies the organization will integrate. They may also feel threatened that automation will make them redundant.
The only way to ensure employees do not bring up pockets of resistance is through proper communication. If you have sought their inputs at the planning stage, they will understand why the change has to take place, and they feel they are part of the whole process. This also assuages their fears.
3. Have total commitment at the management level
The CEO usually initiates organizational change in conjunction with the CIO, but it doesn’t stop there. Organizational change cuts across departments; it’s, therefore, necessary to seek the cooperation of the entire C-suite and other managers.
Even where the vision comes from the entire C-suite, they need other staff members for the execution, they can’t do it alone. To ensure that everybody knows the expected role to play in enhancing a smooth change and even after, the vision must not be a confidential matter.
The level of commitment your employees see in management determines the degree of interest they will put in your organizational change. There must be a sense of urgency about the change, and management must constantly remind employees why the change is important.
Since organizational change cuts across departments, information about achievements must be communicated to employees. This will encourage them to put in more effort. Management must harp at new cultures advocating continuous learning.
Smooth organizational change comes with a lot of actions. If you want your organization to be relevant in this very competitive global business, your business must be adaptable and ready to embrace change.
Your strategies serve as your roadmap; even if the change is impromptu, you still need to plan. The success of your organizational change hinges on your preparedness.
Guest author: Alon Ghelber is the Tel Aviv-based Chief Marketing Officer of Revuze.it, who supports B2B tech startups in capturing customers’ (and VCs’) attention through marketing based on data-driven storytelling.