The “ins and outs” of how to manage change in the workplace

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a great wake-up call for companies and their ability to manage change in the workplace. Things needed to change and fast, there was no time to experiment and slowly turn the wheel.

Organizational change management is about bringing changes in a company’s management style by first identifying problems (or potential ones) and then implementing suitable changes. The methods adopted to bring about the transformation can be micro ones that are continuous and periodic or a mega event that changes things drastically.

effective management how to manage change in the workplace

There are generally two types of organizational change:

  • Adaptive changes: These tend to be small that happen over time as a business grows. They include hiring additional staff, improving office tools and operating procedures.
  • Transformational changes: These are large-scale changes that require an investment of time and money into new systems and restructure the business.

Here are some tips to managing change in the workplace in a streamlined manner.

Change Management at Work

The pandemic has thrown up many examples of how some companies have handled the new challenges better than others. Work from home, remote options and other more unique solutions to the restrictions made on our usual activities have thrown up interesting takeaways.

Focus on solutions rather than the problem

Companies that already followed a flexible schedule found it easy to make the transition to work from home and remote working options. The IT companies, with their exposure to digital technology, were more open to the change and quickly adapted.

Companies that were more customer-focused and required more interactions, needed to think on their feet. And some did.

After the initial hesitation, retail companies were quick to find solutions with upping up their service commitment and offering safe environments. They reduced time spent in the physical premises, restricted the number of people allowed in, offered online consultations with deliveries. Cashless payments were introduced.

Strict adherence and compliance to health advisories is another step

Many retail brands said they’ve shifted to e-commerce accelerated by the pandemic. Several big companies reported record-breaking sales, largely driven by the incorporation of curbside pick-up and delivery. Target and Walmart both have reported an improvement in sales.

According to a recent report, Square, the digital payments company, estimates the number of businesses that have gone cashless in the United States has doubled since the pandemic began. Square says up to 18% of businesses that use its service have gone cash-free.

“We got to where we are today three years faster than we would have had it not been for COVID-19,” said Shelle Santana, a professor at Bentley University, who researches the cashless economy.

Factor in the people

Assess the impact on the people in your employment and devise plans to address them and keep the business going with minimal disruption. Appoint a team representative for each group to gather valuable insights about how events have impacted their roles.

Use the information gathered to bring about appropriate changes in the organization. Offer linear moves and upskilling to avoid any fallout.

Transparency and Communication

When it comes to addressing change during uncertain times, conveying the same in an empathetic and clear manner is essential.

Clear communication is the key. Involve the various heads of departments and managers in the change-making decisions and carry out the changes in consultation. Let the whole process be open and upfront.

Leaving people out or communicating too late leads to bigger issues that can complicate an already complex situation. Companies should trust their people can play a vital role in helping them make the best decisions – especially during times of uncertainty.

Monitoring and implementing the change

This ensures that the changes are making the intended impact. It helps one to be better prepared in times of need. The changes and impact can be used as a barometer for future use.

When times change, change management has to be present, and when uncertainty creeps in, this is even more warranted. By measuring the impact on your people and processes and monitoring and adjusting actions, your company can become better prepared for the future. This is where establishing business continuity plans can play a big role.

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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