in today’s deregulating and increasingly competitive business environment, organizational change is becoming inevitable. Today’s successful organizations are experiencing transitions in the areas of technology, process re engineering, mergers, and organizational restructuring in order to remain competitive. However, although these areas impact employees at all levels of the company, senior management often overlooks this fact. Therefore, it is imperative that company management understands the impact of organizational change on employees and manages these effects accordingly. By doing so, organizational leaders minimize the negative impact change has on productivity and performance.
This paper will focus on the activity of successfully leading employees through significant changes brought about by new technologies and process changes and will focus on three areas of transition leadership. First, the discussion conveys the impact that change has on an organization’s employees. Second, an overview and discussion of transition leadership and its role in managing organizational change is given. Finally, ways to effectively manage employees through these reactions to change is presented. By understanding the elements of organizational change and its impact on employees as well as the appropriate ways of managing people through these revolutions, organizational leaders will be better prepared to address the challenges that are inherent in major business transitions.
The Impact of Change on People
Frequently, information technology professionals overlook the impacts of technology changes on people. Almost any change to technology will have an impact on business processes, which will directly impact the day-to-day jobs of individual employees. As a result, changes to technology require attention to the impacts that they have on both process and people. The practice of Organizational Change Management (OCM) focuses on ensuring that the people side of change is addressed appropriately.
OCM is the process of aligning the organization’s people and culture with changes in business strategy, organizational structure, technology, and business processes. OCM is important because, at the most rudimentary level, all change involves some degree of loss whether it is loss of stability, loss of expertise, loss of relationships, or loss of understanding. People often try to avoid the experience of loss by resisting change. Resistance can come in different forms and be expressed with different emotions such as anger, frustration, fear, etc. Due to the tendency for change to elicit an emotional response, any large-scale change initiative will likely remove the employees’ focus from the business to transition-related issues. This shift in focus will likely disrupt the productivity of the business.
Many technology implementation/business process redesign efforts fail because they overlook the impacts that change will have on the people in the organization. An organization that ignores the importance of OCM could experience the following risks: increased resistance to new technology, decreased quality and customer service, high turnover and absenteeism, difficulty recruiting and retaining high performers, and damaged internal and external brand equity.
On the other hand, an organization that implements a technology/business process transformation with integrated OCM will experience the following benefits: realization of the business transformation objectives, higher return on technology investments, retention of high performers, maintained and improved productivity, improved employee satisfaction and morale, and increased discretionary effort.
Given the impact that change has on employees, it is clear that managers must learn to proactively manage employees through the many changes that are inherent in most organizations. In geospatial...