When speculating about upcoming trends in business, industry experts hypothesise that one of the keys to a company’s success relies on understanding this demand for adaptation. It also appears to be the new normal, with 92% of employers saying they have “at least one form of flexible working practice available in their workplace” [https://comparecamp.com/]. Achieving this contemporary work model may require a series of cost cuts, streamlining operations, and becoming leaner to meet these needs.
This plight presents the ever-essential question: How can modern organisations keep up?
How to overcome the challenges posed by rapid organisational change
In many cases, organisational change is necessary to promote increased efficiency. One of the most effective ways that HR experts can help employees navigate this, is to enable a “can-do” culture and ensure that people feel comfortable bringing ideas forward. A survey conducted by CIPD stated that “only 17% of respondents mentioned trade unions as a channel for voice. The most common channel was one-to-one meetings with a line manager” [cipd.co.uk]. They can also supplement their processes with secondary systems like Human Capital Management (HCM) software.
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New challenges are also forcing organisations to re-evaluate how they operate. These changes are a product of the global economic downturn, technological advances, and the evolving socio-political landscape. Technology has transformed how companies work, consumers behave, and competitors do business in a post-pandemic working world. Consequently, many consumers have become more demanding in their expectations of brands that offer quality customer service. “According to Forrester, nearly 95% of leaders say that providing a good customer experience is a top strategic priority, and 75% want to use customer experience as a competitive advantage.” [fonolo.com]. As a result, new entrants are stealing market share from incumbents by providing innovative ways of engaging customers through social media applications or smartphones. Consequently, established brands have had to spend heavily on technology and new solutions to keep up.
Leading change is complex, and one person alone cannot undertake it. It requires effective teamwork throughout the organisation. Communication needs to be constant, and employees need to feel involved with all aspects of the project, from drafting the strategy to implementation. Q&A sessions are also an essential part of this communication process, as not everyone is comfortable in open meetings standing and sharing their thoughts in open forums. This communication needs to happen at al levels of the organisation, otherwise it may not be effective. Michael Foote, Vertical Head, Birlasoft shared his experience by stating “Achieving success through change also requires commitment from all stakeholders and customers, who need to know how to benefit from any changes.”
The importance of continuous communications and status updates can help change happen effectively.
When leading change within an organisation, it is essential to get support from all stakeholders involved. Leaders need to embrace their employees’ knowledge and experience by consulting them throughout the process rather than just approaching them with a new strategy at the end of the project. This framework will help unite the team and keep everyone informed. In addition, employees will also recognise which parts of the business are undergoing fundamental restructuring to keep their skills up to date [hbr.org]. As a result, they will better understand how they fit into the overall organisational structure and feel more engaged and motivated in their work. [https://online.hbs.edu/]
Both managers and employees are in the same boat, and it does not work without action and direct investment of time.
Tips for maintaining a positive attitude during times of upheaval.
Organisations that lack a “can-do” culture may struggle to meet customer needs and remain competitive. It can be the difference between success and detriment; “59% of consumers who love a brand are prepared to forsake it after poor experiences” [Forbes.com].
HR experts should work with managers to create a “can-do” culture where people are encouraged to pitch new ideas, even if they challenge orthodoxy at times. This kind of attitude enables organisations to be flexible and adaptable while still meeting the needs of their customers. Companies must train managers to make effective decisions in complex situations to achieve this. A Bain & Company article emphasised this, stating: “10-year research program involving more than 1,000 companies shows a clear correlation (at a minimum 95% confidence level) between decision effectiveness and business performance.” This training includes giving them the skills to manage change effectively and the knowledge required to understand key business processes.
Strategies for dealing with sudden changes in employee attitudes
Achieving success through change starts with effective leadership. Leaders need a clear vision of what those within the organisation could achieve to understand how they can facilitate it. As a result, leaders need to understand the types of employees they have and what motivates them.