One of the most difficult tasks for managers is to manage their employee’s resistance to changes within the organization. It is clear that change is an unavoidable element found in all organizations and one of the main reasons of stress for employees. This is why some employees experience difficulties coping and adapting to it. Managing change can be a very complex process for managers, but assisting their employees to adapt and assimilate change can be even more complicated. This is why managers and leaders must be knowledgeable at managing the dimension of people in order to be successful at managing change.
Understanding how others cope, think, and assimilate change becomes a valuable asset for managers. This understanding assists them in managing employee resistance and in assisting their employees to accept and embrace the unavoidable presence of changes within the organization. Change Situation Experiencing Resistance within My Organization My organization recently underwent a major management change. This management transition brought within many changes to our current processes and dynamics.
Although most of the changes have been widely accepted by most employees, one in particular is experiencing great resistance. This change is the adoption of new a overtime policy. Prior to the establishment of this change, any agent interested in working extra hours was only required to inform his or her intention to work extra hours at any time. With the new policy agents are not only now required to inform their managers of their intention to work additional hours 24 hours in advance, but once they commit to work the hours if for any circumstances they are unable to, corrective actions are taken against them.
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This means that all employees requesting to work extra hours who are unable to fulfill their request due to any given circumstances would be subject to a corrective action session by their managers and to have it documented in the employee’s file. This new policy has created great discomfort and resistance in the employee’s, which have also lead our employees to refrain from working additional hours. Unfortunately, our organization depends tremendously on our employee’s willingness to work additional hours due to the nature and volume of the work involving our business.
Therefore, finding and developing effective ways to deal with their resistance is imperative for the success of our organization. What are the factors causing the employee’s resistance? Trice and Beyer (2005) stated that any establishment of changes within the organization will always require changes to the existing culture. They also stated that the impact to be suffered by the organization due to the changes implemented is strictly directed by the level of the change involved, its acceptance and understanding by the employees, which is the case with the change instituted by my organization (Trice & Bayer, 2005).
There are many factors underlying the presence of resistance from the employees regarding the change implemented by the leadership group. These factors are: 1. The employee’s perception of this change as arbitrary and unfair. •Our employees do not believe that this change was necessary and perceive it as another attempt to micromanage by management. They believe that the original system was working perfectly for them and the organization. •Employees believe that the institution of this change is unfair being that they feel penalized for volunteering their personal time to assist the organization, instead of being appreciated for it . The employees resent that that they were not made part of the discussion leading to the establishment of the change or made aware of the reasoning behind the implementation of the change and what intents to accomplish.
•This is the main cause of their resistance. Our employees resent the fact that management did not allowed them to participate in the discussions leading to establishment of this change. Due to this they feel that their feelings and views were not taken into consideration before implementing the change. Management failed to communicate and educated the employees regarding the reasons leading to the changes and why it is necessary. Due to this the employees cannot understand the need for the change and the dynamic behind it. Why was this change necessary? Through analysis of our employee’s trends regarding our original over time policy our leadership group decided that a change to the policy was needed. By making use of the data gathered management discovered that many employees were abusing the flexibility provided by the original policy.
Although the leadership group understands that our employees are not obligated in any way to work any additional hours beyond their required schedules, they assessed the tremendous waste of resources incurred due to our employee’s failure to follow through with their commitment. It is understood that the successful institution of changes within the organization requires the adoption of new approaches based on the people and structure of the organization suffering the change (Trice & Beyer, 2005). Along with that, management must also understand what motivates and triggers the employee’s performance, behavior, and efficiency (Harrison, 2005).
This understanding allows them to be more effective at managing the factors triggering these elements (Harrison, 2005). By analyzing the original over time policy, the efficiency, behaviors, and performance of our employees our leadership group determined that the policy was too relaxed and that our employees were indeed abusing of the flexibility that it provided them. Once the employee’s commitment to work additional hours special arrangements were made for them by management such as paid lunches, extra cost incurred for utilities, and the creation of special workflows.
Unfortunately many of the employees who made commitments for the additional hours often failed to up for them, which caused our leadership group to waste resources and to fail in accomplishing the duties promised to our head office due to the lack of employees to fulfill the tasks. This is why our leadership group decided on redesigning our over time policy and to include a responsibility portion to it that pursues making our employees accountable for their commitments. The idea behind it is to reduce the absenteeism and over commitment from our employees.
This will simultaneously provide the means to ensure that any commitments incurred by our leadership group for the completion of additional tasks will be met because those employees committing to work additional hours will show to complete the tasks. What when wrong? It must be first understood that our organization indeed failed to recognize many of the key elements involved in the establishment of change discussed by Harrison (2005). First and foremost before any changes to the structure of the organization the employee’s readiness to accept the change must be evaluated (Harrison, 2007).
Along with that management must also assess how all affected parties will deal with the changes and if the change will produce the results expected or will instead produce unfavorable results for the organization (Harrison, 2005). It is obvious that our management’s failure to acknowledge these elements lead our employee’s to resist to the change implemented. It is also clear that their failure to properly communicate with the employees the challenges experienced while the original policy was in use and the implications behind the new change has contributed tremendously to the creation of this resistance (Harrison, 2005; Trice & Beyer, 2005).
Along with that, their lack of consideration to the possible consequences resulting from this change has left our management group unprepared to deal with unfavorable results resulting from it (Harrison, 2005). According to Kotter leaders must have understand that there is a process to be followed to secure the effectiveness of a change implemented (Bruner, Eaker, Freeman, Spekman, Teisberg, & Venkatatarman, 2003). They must also understand that the most critical part of this process is to help the organization understand the importance of the change to be made (Bruner et al. 2003). What can be done to minimize the employee’s resistance? Resistance on the group level is evident where there are threats to the power structure, influence held by the individuals and lack of trust, as well as a difference in the views and goals existing within the organization (Trice & Beyer, 2005). Giving orders and instituting change is much more than just utilizing ones power to direct individuals (Follet, 2005). It requires the right set of mind, conditions, and organizational structure to make it effective (Pfeffer, 2005).
A manager’s job is not just to demand from the employees the completion of a task or to follow certain policies; it is also to engage the employees and to have them wanting to do it (Gosling & Mintzberg, 2003). Along with that, Follet (2007) also pointed out the importance of knowing how and when to communicate orders. Therefore, the key is to focus in managing the situation not the orders (Follet, 2007). Otherwise, the message delivered through the orders can be unwelcomed or disregarded (Follet, 2007).
This is why if the communication of the orders related to change instituted is not managed properly it can cause resistance, due to fear of the unfamiliar, individual interests, and habit (Trice & Beyer, 2005). Therefore, making sure that all employees and parties affected fully understand the importance of the change is critical to eliminate or minimize any resistance that might interfere with its successful implementation (Bruner et al. , 2003; Trice & Bayer, 2005).
To do so our leadership group must first suspend the new policy until full and open communication are maintained with all levels to facilitate the acceptance of the change being implemented, the strategies being used, and to set the path for the vision being pursued (Bruner et al. , 2003). Along with that, it will become extremely important for our management group to educate the employees and have them fully understand the reasons leading to the changes before reincorporating it (Bruner et al. , 2003).
Doing so will reduce the resistance being experiencing from the employees and the chances of failure in the execution of the proposed changes (Trice & Bayer, 2005). Individual resistance to change is usually about self preservation and fear (Trice & Bayer, 2005). This is why our management team must focus in unveiling our employee’s fears and in finding ways to ease them out. As Bruner, Eaker, Freeman, Spekman, Teisberg, & Venkatatarman (2003) suggested, to motivate their employees to perform according to the policies established managers must have a clear understanding of their weaknesses, strengths, and learning styles (Bruner et al. 2003). This is why understanding these factors will allow our managers to be more effective at handling those elements that will trigger our employee’s performance and that will facilitate their assimilation of the changes implemented (Harrison, 2005). Conclusion It can be concluded that our management group did not properly manage the establishment of the new over time policy. Their failure to consider the implications involved in its implementation, to acknowledge the need to educated and to fully communicate the need for the change to employees are some of the main causes generating their resistance (Harrison, 2005).
This is why it will be in the best interest of the organization to temporarily suspend the new policy and to refocus their efforts in education the employees in the need for the new policies (Harrison, 2005). Along with that, their focus should also include the creation of open communication settings to allow the employees to express their concerns, feelings, and discomfort with the new policy. Doing so will assist our leadershi to regain their trust, to develop plans to gain their support to the new policy, and to minimize their resistance (Harrison, 2005; Trice & Bayer, 2005).
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