I have a fun activity for everyone. I would like for you to raise your hand if you have ever experienced organizational change? Is your hand raised? I know mine is. Organizational change could be anything from a reorg of your company, reduction in force, acquisitions, mergers, growth investments, etc.
My company is currently going through a growth investment, which is similar to an acquisition/merger, but we’re told it’s slightly different. A growth investment is a type of investment strategy that concentrates on increasing the value of the financial assets.
This isn’t my first time going through an organizational change, but it is the first time for experiencing it from the HR side. And I have to be honest, I am actually really excited about the opportunities my company is going to have moving forward. Being a part of the team leading the change is exciting, too.
However, I realize that going through organizational change isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. There are a lot of moving parts and there is a lot of information to process, from both the employee and the employer side. These are my takeaways from viewing organizational change from an HR perspective.
Communication is Key! When you have an organizational change announcement to make, what you say and how you say it is key! There are multiple avenues available for communicating, some better than others. I would highly recommend having an in-person meeting with all employees at the same time. If this is not possible because a portion of your employees work remotely, then have a conference line or webinar available. If you try to do it in stages, or rely on others to pass on the announcement, some people may get left out, resulting in unwanted issues down the road.
Helping Employees Cope: Organizational change can be difficult for employees. They want to know how the change will impact them, how soon the changes will occur, what they need to know, etc. Therefore, communication is very important during this transition. Keeping quiet will only increase the anxiety that your employees are feeling. Provide them with frequent updates, involve employees in the change, and keep a positive attitude.
Processing the Info Yourself: Helping your employees cope with the change is important, but what you need to do before that is process the info yourself. You aren’t going to be able to keep a straight face or a positive attitude about it if you can’t come to grips with it yourself. Find a trustworthy colleague, friend, or family member that you can confide in; possibly someone that has been through this before. Get all your thoughts and concerns out into the atmosphere; it won’t do you any good to keep it bottled in.
Dealing with change is inevitable in today’s job market, but understanding how to handle it appropriately will make a world of difference in your organization. I’ll leave you with this: “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. -Nathaniel Branden
Join @SHRMnextchat for a #Nextchat on Organizational Change with the SHRM Young Professional Council on Wednesday, October 24 at 3:00 p.m. ET.