The result of any Organization Development process is a change in the way things are done in an organization. Whether it is new technology, a more efficient process, or a different reporting structure, the resulting change will have to be implemented by people—and no matter how difficult it is to create the new operating plans, implementing them successfully will be even more difficult because the people in the organization must be motivated and committed to making the changes work.
Change Process Theory
An early model of change process theory, developed by a social psychologist named Kurt Lewin, described three stages for change:
This stage creates the motivation for change by identifying and communicating the need for the change. In this stage it is important to create a vision for the outcome of the change and a sense of urgency for getting to the new outcome.
During this stage, resistance is examined and managed and the organization is aligned with the change. Communication remains an integral part of the process.
In the final stage of the theory, the change becomes the new norm for the organization, the outcome is evaluated, and additional changes occur to adjust the actual outcomes to those that are desired.
Human resource professionals can use change process theory to aid employees through a stressful work change. Let’s take a look at some other ways HR can help employees deal with change.
Tools for Successful Change
As they say, “Changes are resisted”. People dislike change for a variety of reasons: change moves them out of the “comfort zone” to which they have become accustomed and they may be fearful of the unknown. The politics of the organization may make change undesirable in one group or another, and employees may perceive that they will lose status or control. Changes fail most often because the people who are expected to implement them are not prepared to do so. Organizations can take steps to ensure the success of change initiatives, including the following:
Prepare for change
The only constant in the current business environment is change. Organizations must be aware of situations developing within the industry or geographic areas in which they operate so that they can be ahead of the curve in developing strategies that will effectively handle changes in the environment.
To enhance the likelihood of a successful implementation, leaders must communicate with employees well in advance of any planned implementation. Soliciting ideas from those who are closest to operations may provide insight into better solutions and increase buy-in when it is time to implement the change. Communication at every stage of the process will enable employees to get used to the idea of the change gradually, increase the level of acceptance, and build commitment for the process.
Develop a plan
A comprehensive plan that clearly defines the goals of the change, addresses all of its implications, and includes tools for evaluating its success is essential. Scheduling training for employees who may need to upgrade skills, integrating processes from different areas of the organization, upgrading equipment, and developing a plan to address resistance to the change and reduce stress will increase the chances for successful implementation.
Have a sponsor
The CEO or another senior executive who is committed to and enthusiastic about the change must be able to inspire employees to commit to the implementation.
Motivate direct supervisors
Employees want to know how their supervisors feel about changes and will be influenced by what the supervisors say about the change.
Recruit unofficial leaders
Every organization has unofficial leaders who are able to influence coworkers; obtaining their commitment to the change will influence others.
Put the change into action. Ensure that employees have the tools needed to successfully implement the change, whether that is new equipment, facilities, training, or support.
Compare results to the evaluation criteria developed during the planning stage to determine whether or not the change was successfully implemented.
HR professionals are in a unique position to act as change agents during this process. A change agent must be able to balance the needs of various stakeholders in the process, listen to their concerns, and move them toward acceptance of and commitment to the change.
In a study conducted in 2019, Edy Setyantu gave the following model of change management: