Managing & Implementing Organizational Change

Actual Comments on Why Employees Leave:

“Employees are frustrated with all of the new changes that the company has gone through the last couple of years. Different charts, performance goals, new tier levels, etc. None of these things seem to have been implemented well or explained. They should know that people want more communication about these things because it greatly affects their job/pay.”

The Solution

For any company, change happens. Sometimes a lot of it, rapidly within a short period of time in order to react to shifts in the economy, the industry, or—especially with startups—the business model itself. Rapid, successive changes in management or ownership can bring about organizational change, and so can rounds of layoffs and periods of growth.

Not properly implementing organizational change and rapid change of policies, procedures, goals or missions certainly has the potential to be frustrating and stressful for the employees in the trenches tasked with absorbing, adopting, and successfully implementing change after change that comes down from management.

A part of the solution, of course (as the employee states), is communication, and for two reasons:

  • To clearly describe what the changes are, so they can be correctly performed
  • To clearly explain the “why” behind the changes, so you can get buy-in

The employee exiting this particular company felt there was not enough emphasis on either implementation or explanation.

Employees are not machines who can simply be re-programmed with new code. They are not soldiers who are compelled to carry out any and all orders from superiors.

Even so, to that point, it’s been often documented that soldiers in combat have balked at commands that seem to be for no good reason. They’re human, after all. Even a good superior in the military knows that the unit performs best with buy-in that comes from the understanding or belief that the new set of orders is in the best interest of the unit itself, of which each soldier is a part.

For employees, change without purpose—and certainly a lot of it, year after year—is an understandable drag on morale. It lessens trust in and regard for the company and its management, just as readily as it lowers (at least in the short run) productivity.

Managing organizational change and other transitions means making sure that changes are understood, appreciated and valued as important. To achieve that, it’s vital for managers to meet with their team members to explain the why of new policies, procedures and organizational charts. Employees want to have their questions answered, to feel as if a genuine dialog is invited and that challenges and complaints can be addressed in an open, professional setting.

Then, to make sure that employee feedback is getting back to management. It’s important to know if there’s resistance to a change or set of changes, and why.

In short, is your company’s management doing a good job to make inevitable change—and especially rapid change—understandable and reasonable to employees? Is management connecting the dots between the new way of doing things and the success of the company?

If not, maybe it’s time for a change.

(This blog post brought to you by HSD Metrics, an exit interview company that helps companies reduce employee turnover by providing automated reference checking, exit interviews, and by measuring employee retention. The comments from exiting employees that are featured in this blog are collected from actual exit interviews conducted using ExitRight, HSD’s exit interviewing service. Because we place the privacy of our clients at the top of our priority list; the names of all involved parties are kept completely confidential. Check our blog often for posts like this, to reduce employee turnover within your organization. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today.)