Implementing or managing change in a corporate culture can be difficult because transitions are closely dependent on multiple factors. Initiating the change typically involves three key success factors. They are as follows:

  • Knowing how to manage personal change.
  • Managing resistance during the transition
  • Educating and preparing the organisation to be ready for the change of adoption.

The Initial Shortcomings of an Organisational Change - Resistance and Personal Change Management

In addition to working through the softer elements like leadership, culture, and motivation, managing resistance and the personal response to change can help accelerate an organisation's change readiness.

1: Resistance

The first step is staying honest to expect resistance in any change response because making transitions are disruptive and requires adaptation and adjustment. Examples of resistance include the following:

  • A sudden increase in the number of 'quits.'
  • Sullen hostility towards the management and other personnel.
  • Request for transfers or quitting the job.
  • Slow down or quiet-quitting.
  • Insistent reduction in productivity-related output.

How to Manage Resistance?

Designed to implement alongside organisational change, the 3-Phase Process by Prosci is a structured, adaptable, and structured approach for managing the "people's side" of change, covering three phases, including -

1st Phase - Prepare Approach

The primary purpose of this initial phase is to position the change by developing a scaled or customised change management strategy alongside the commitment and sponsorship you're seeking.

It's also important to gain support from the key stakeholders and primary sponsors at this phase. If there's no early commitment on everyone's part, the assistance you require won't materialise, which, in turn, might jeopardise the entire process.

Three questions are asked in this phase:

  • Defining Impact: Whose job roles have changed and how?
  • Defining Success: What is your organisation trying to achieve?
  • Defining Approach: What do you need to do to achieve success?
2nd Phase - Manage Change

This stage focuses on applying the ADKAR framework to manage and monitor the receptiveness to the change.

Besides developing specific action plans for each attribute of ADKAR comprising awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement, the constant surveying of the employees' sentiments in the areas will help the organisation remove the barriers during the transition.

3rd Phase - Sustain the Outcome

This is the acid test where we measure how the change adoption is received and reinforced throughout the organisation. The crucial activities to drive sustainability may include -

  • Key result area - Where are the visible signs of success during the transition? What evidence do we have that the desired change has resulted in a positive outcome?
  • Sustainability- How will we sustain the efforts of the people? How will we ensure that there is sufficient support and resources to motivate and reinforce the desired behavioural change and results?
  • Ownership - Who's going to assume ownership and sustain the outcome? How will we share the accountability and ensure an equitable distribution of the roles and responsibilities?

2: Reluctance to Personal Change

In this case, the Kubler-Ross Change Curve will be relevant to business leaders, as it helps in determining how to support the employees through every stage of transition.

A thoroughly-supported employee will always perceive the company culture and ensure that the corporation can progress towards its goals without any reluctance.

Taking proactive steps to help employees deal with the psychological impact of change can help smoothen out the edges and reduce resistance.

Ensuring that key managers are coached to guide their staff, and employees feel supported and encouraged will pave the pathway towards change acceptance.

Using the Kubler-Ross model, you can observe how your employees experience the stages of change. To set your team for success, managers can be trained to respond and provide support and become a resource for the team.

Stage - 1: Denial

Expressed in many ways besides indifference, avoidance and disbelief, the opportunity is for employees to feel that there is a space for them to express their feelings and instinctive reaction. For managers who are trained in advance, it will help them to be ready to demonstrate empathy while reinforcing the business case for change.

Stage - 2: Resistance

The feeling of unfairness and scepticism here requires an empathic manager to acknowledge and validate their feelings. Managers must continue to help the employee understand the case for change and provide more information so that the people know where they stand. During this stage, it'll be crucial for the leadership to remain calm and communicate with logic and clarity.

Stage - 3: Exploration

Once the feeling of anger and agitation subsides, employees may seek to explore their options and might even be open to identifying new opportunities outside of their comfort zone. Here, managers can encourage new skills and provide avenues for participation and contribution. Affirming their efforts and struggles can help staff to embrace risk-taking with a future-focused mindset.

Stage 4: Acceptance

Once we see a future orientation towards possibilities, managers here must provide feedback and guidance to drive the new behaviours and sustain the new mindset. Seize the moment with employees to re-establish new ways of working and even reset performance standards to reinforce new behaviours and norms.

3 Keys to Smoothing the Transition for Your Employees

Transitions are never easy as it involves letting go of the familiar and understanding why the old way will have to change. Hence having a clear picture of the future and their role in that space can help increase their receptiveness.

Here are three proven techniques to anchor the transition for your employees -

1: Clear Communication

Provide assurance by ensuring constant communications and removing toxic talk or rumours early. Highlight the necessity for the transformation, vision, strategy, and the impact of the change on the stakeholders.

2: Contextual Employee Training

Equip your managers to be ready to guide their people and make sure they don't suffer burnout. Invest in providing the appropriate training so that they feel empowered and valued. This, in turn, can help them learn a new process, bridge the skill gaps, and build their confidence.

3: Celebrate Critical Breakthroughs

An organisational change can invoke and induce more than one emotional response within a person. It may also lead to discomfort and a sense of anger within them. However, as they begin behavioural modification and start accepting the change, the organisation should choose the initial leader of the change and reward them. Celebrating a crucial milestone will be essential too.

Change Management Best Practices - Different Scenarios, Different Frameworks

Here are some of the best change management practices that may be ideal for different scenarios or frameworks.

1: Change in the retail sector

Here is how the process flow might look like for a retail corporate -

  • Stage - 1: First, identify the difference. While you're at it, you need to seek information about the type of change, the reason behind it, the scope it can offer, and the organisation's readiness.
  • Stage - 2: Secondly, the details have to be numbered and organised properly. In this case, you'll need to look after the procedural and behavioural changes, alteration in data and information, and overall risk assessment.
  • Stage - 3: For the third stage, you'll need to shift your focus on the approach. In order to do so, you will need to analyse your stakeholders, prepare for the resistance to alter or change and create a specific role for the management team.
  • Stage - 4: Now, you can implement the action and communication plan regarding the change. Also, create a training scheme to improve your employees' readiness to tackle the change.
  • Stage - 5: Finally, start monitoring the change and how it's being implicated throughout the corporation. Keeping up with the behaviour of your employees will be quite important in this aspect as well.

2: In the Hospitality Industry

The change management flow of the hospitality industry focuses on the change leader clarifying the transition and the vision ahead.

Here's what it may entail -

  • Purpose: What is the core reason behind making such a transformation? How will it be able to benefit the guest experience globally?
  • Picture: How will your corporate scenario look following the integration of the change? Will there be any risks associated if you don't go through it?
  • Part: What's the role your employees will play in change management? What are the guest expectations?
  • Plan: What are the key milestones of the change? What does the timeline look like? How will it all work out in the end?

The Bottom Line

An organisational change is not easy to implement. However, it is the only constant in a business dynamic. Therefore, as a way to handle the increasing speed of change, consider using tools and techniques to help you become ready to help your organisation transition through the change.