Principles of Transparency for Management Strategies

Change Management Strategies and Software – Enabling Effective Business Change Implementation

It used to be a common practice for small business firms to implement changes in their organization simply because the top honchos had decided to do so. This management strategy works under the principles of at-will employment. Employees are always free to leave if they feel that the company is not doing the right thing for them, or vice versa. In fact, during the 2008-2009 recessions, many employees working for firms with less than one hundred full time workers recall that they had reported for work as usual, only to be informed that it was their last day on the job.

Naturally, those who were left behind spent many sleepless nights and unproductive work days wondering if tomorrow was to be their doomsday. These employees were retained because they were the most reliable and dependable. However, their employers did not foresee that they would seek another employer, rather than waiting for the day when they will be axed. Hence, many of these small companies were forced to close shop since their businesses were unable to face the economic recession without the support of their key employees.

Lessons have been learned since then. The new breeds of entrepreneurs are now adopting the principles of transparency, in order to gain the loyalty and continued support of their human resources. Business owners and CEOs have made personal changes by becoming people-oriented; and by involving their employees and other stakeholders in their consultation processes. Ideally, changes are implemented by starting at the top.

However, it cannot be helped that most employees still have negative feelings toward the concept of change. Hence, they remain suspicious of top management’s true motives until they see their executives walk the walk, instead of just hearing them talk the talk. In the meantime, they’ll start looking for new employers by submitting their applications in online job markets. This comes with the hope that their resumes will crop up, once a job opening in a more stable company will match their qualifications. In such cases, the changes implemented are halfheartedly carried out since there’s an air of wait-and-see attitude pervading in the workplace.

Examples of Factors that Spur Business Changes

Workforce Attrition – Attrition in the workplace often transpires when a high number of employees voluntarily leave the company. Highly-trained and well-rounded employees tend to feel dissatisfied with how their careers are taking shape, and their salaries are hardly taking-off from where they had started. After waiting it out for a few years, they eventually look for the proverbial “greener pastures”. As a result, those who are left behind are constrained to take on the workload and the pressure. However, the changes that management will implement to curtail or prevent the increasing trend in attrition, are yet to be decided.

Economic Conditions – Economic condition often refers to the financial capacity of a geographical unit, which may be a town, a state, or the entire nation. This is usually affected by the ability of a unit to trade and convert its local products into cash, which can spur an increase or cause stagnation in the amount of money circulating within the community. As the results can affect the buying power of the consumers, the trend in their purchasing activities will likewise affect the ability of a business to generate income. Thus, changes may have to be implemented if a company can no longer generate the income that will allow them to meet the funds needed to pay for overhead expenses. This, of course, includes the salaries of its employees.

Product Innovations – Inasmuch as businesses often engage in cutthroat competition, innovations made by the competitor over another product can affect the business of the original product carrier. Management, therefore, can be expected to implement changes, which employees will anticipate with much apprehension. Mainly because this could lead to a possible downsizing of the workforce, due to the unexpected obsolescence of their employer’s product.

Change Management – A Project Management Discipline

In order to lessen the impact of any transformation or modification, management will have better results by adhering to the project management discipline of change management. Instead of simply executing the company’s transformation strategies with a sweeping motion, changes are gradually ushered in by following the three (3) phases of change management:

Phase I – Preparation

  1. Preparations have to be made prior to any actual implementation of the changes that were mapped out by the company.
  2. The characteristics of the transformation to take place, must first, be evaluated by looking closely into the prevailing workplace culture. Assessments should be made on how changes will be perceived and received by the employees, particularly those who will be greatly affected.
  3. There’s also the matter of considering the skills and the costs of training that will be required, in order to make the employees suitable for the changes that are about to take place. For that matter, are the employees motivated enough to undergo training?
  4. The objective of these assessments is to determine the change management strategy to use. Once a strategy has been developed at the preparation stage, the key employees that will comprise the team in-charge of implementing the modifications will likewise be determined.
  5. Another important aspect of the preparation stage is the solicitation of executive support, termed as “sponsorship” in project management. CEOs in particular will play a major role in the company’s campaign to raise the employees’ awareness and positive acceptance of change.

Phase II -Managing Change

During the implementation and deployment stage, the change management team will be tasked to undertake the necessary steps that will allow a smooth transition. Here, they will apply the techniques and strategies they have drawn up as part of their change management plan. That way, they can elicit cooperation and minimize if not totally eliminate resistance. One way to expedite the fruitful execution of their plans is to use project management software specifically designed for this purpose.

Using software support during change deployment will help the team by automating the processes of:

  • Communicating the plans to the employees concerned;
  • Creating a road map for the executive sponsors on how they will go about providing their support, including the paths to take for overcoming any impediments or distractions. That way, they can stay engaged with the activities that have been laid out for them.
  • Conducting the training and coaching plans.
  • Drawing up the resistance management plan; in which the tasks involved are aimed at addressing the root causes of the resistance, in order to come up with workable solutions. Phase III – Reinforcing the ChangesThis stage can also be enhanced by automating the processes involved in the change management reinforcement plans. These include:
  • Integrating reinforcement mechanisms such as (1) establishing accountability in the changed system, (2) putting in place a system of measuring the success of the modifications made, (3) integrating a system of addressing issues and errors and how these can be prevented,(4) the recognition and reward programs being sponsored by the top executives.
  • Instituting systems and procedures for compliance audit.
  • Carrying out corrective-action initiatives
  • Recognizing individual and group achievements
  • Emphasizing success through celebrations, by way of congratulatory notes and rewards such as gift certificates, movie or event tickets, flowers, lunch out, day-off, incentive trips, cash bonus and even promotions.
  • Gathering feedback; conducting reviews and monitoring. Consider implementing changes in your business by going through the process via the project management way. By providing you a more detailed description of how change management strategies and software are being utilized, you now have a clearer perception of how this will enable your company to make your business changes work effectively.