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How to minimize negative effects of change in your company – short guide

Going through a period of changes, and don’t know how to deal with potential negative effects of change in your company?

Today most organizations are going through constant state of transformation, as they respond to the extremely dynamic business environment, the pandemic impact, and the technological progress. And that means processes, systems, and strategies in the workplace must continually change and evolve for an organization to remain competitive.

People say change is good. But sometimes it comes along with a drawback: it usually affects the most important resource, which is your team. Due to frequent changes, sometimes insufficiently communicated, people may choose to migrate to companies where things seem to be more “stable”.

And the loss of people is costly due to the associated recruitment costs and the time involved in familiarizing new employees with the various processes in the company. Every time an employee walks out the door, a lot of knowledge about the business leaves together with him. And that’s why you need a well-developed plan for change management.

What you can do to prevent the negative effects of change in your company

A change management plan can support a smooth transition and ensure that employees are guided on the path to change. Here are some key steps you can take to effectively manage organizational change.

1. Clearly define the change and align it with the broader business objectives

It may seem obvious, but many organizations miss this vital first step. One thing is to talk about the need for change, and another is to perform a critical analysis of necessary change that can really help the organizational and performance goals. The latter helps to ensure that change will lead the business in the right direction.

This step can help you determine the value of the change, which will quantify the effort and resources required from the entire team.

So, the key questions you should answer as clear as possible are:

  • What do we need to change?
  • Why is this change needed?
  • Who needs this change in our organization, and what are the objectives we need to reach through this change?

2. Determine the impact of change and the negative effects that may occur

Once you know exactly what you intend to achieve, you should determine the impact of the change at different organizational levels, both on short and long term.

So, fort this step, the key questions are:

  • What are the positive effects of change? What about the negative effects?
  • Who in our organization will be most affected by the change?
  • How will the change be received at different staff levels?

3. Develop a communication strategy, for both short and long term

According to a study conducted by the business consulting firm CEB, the chances of inappropriate behavior of employees during an organizational change can increase by 42% if it is not well communicated.

So, don’t keep people in the dark, but set up a model of constant communication and transparency. One of the worst things that can happen in a change management process is misinformation and spread of gossip among employees. And once the gossip spreads, panic can easily settle in, if there’s absence of clear and regular communication from management.

Representing a large part of each stage of a change, communication must be bidirectional, so that things can run smoothly.

Put quality first at the expense of quantity when it comes to communicating with teammates, and consider the following communication strategies for successfully implementing a plan:

  • Surveys before, but also after the change allow obtaining feedback from all staff levels to improve the process;
  • 1-on-1 discussions about the reluctance of certain employees, during which you provide them with information designed to change their perspective on change and on the negative effects that may occur;
  • Clear and consistent explanations, especially when it comes to the chronology of actions and responsibilities;
  • Formal, as well as informal communication approaches, including email, intranet, texting and voicemail;
  • Meetings with employees to explore the most unfavorable scenarios and develop strategies to address them.

4. Adjust goals or set new ones, if required

Organizations will always need to align changes with the criteria for evaluating, compensating, and promoting performance. During times of uncertainty, employees will want to know how changes will affect the manner in which their performance is assessed. So, when change happens, make sure you adjust adjust performance goals to keep them aligned to the new state of facts.

Managing employees through changing periods and mitigating negative effects of change in your company requires intuition, a good listening ability and effective communication skills. Done right, change management can help a leader gain respect and loyalty. Otherwise, the negative effects can be felt by both the top level of the organization, and the operational staff.

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