Human Resources and Small Business & Startups

How do you communicate organizational change?

August 9, 2013
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Do you have new programs that need to be implemented, software programs to be installed or employees to be hired or laid off?

As a small business owner, it’s easy to look at yourself as a parent or an authority figure to your employees.

Owners either aim to please all the time, keeping everyone happy at all costs, or they take the “my way or the highway” approach.

Neither is effective.

Headcount and morale

When it comes to layoffs and downsizing, a majority of organizations fail to consider the emotional impact on employees.

An estimated 60 percent of restructuring efforts under perform or fail outright against their intended claims.

People react to the corporate shuffle — stress rises, personal satisfaction drops and people disengage themselves from caring.

The last thing you need as a small business owner is an employee who has given up.

Adaptive change

Whether in a large corporation or small company, current trends demand people give up things they hold dear.

Requiring employees to change daily work habits, loyalties or ways of thinking can often be met with resistance.

Keep in mind, when asking your employees to change, the only return for their sacrifices, may be the possibility of a better future.

This kind of organizational transformation is "adaptive change," which is different from the "technical change" that happens on a more regular basis.

Adaptive problems require individuals throughout the organization to alter their ways — since employees are part of the problem and need to be part of the solution.

Embrace opposition

Communication is the key when leading any organization through difficult but necessary change.

Business owners leading an organization through change will always face some opposition.

Owners should plan to court the uncommitted employees, and keep those opposed close.

Have coffee with the person who most wants to see your new project fail.

Communicate and fess up if you goofed — acknowledging your mistakes goes a long way. Your employees will appreciate it and look at you with more respect and empathy.

Timeout

In a time of change, it’s important for employers and employees to anchor themselves and maintain balance in their lifestyle.

There is life outside work.

It’s important to commit yourselves to family, friends and activities that provide a respite from your company issues.

The personal involvement can serve as a vital anchor in stormy weather. 

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