Change Management: HR Policy overcoming the emotional hurdles to success?

Change Management Image - Hurdles to Success

What is the point of change management? You see a way you can improve the company services/products/profits, and you make the change, simple? Or is it?

Change can have negative emotional repercussions, on both employees and customers, no matter how well intended the changes are. This is why it is important for HR policy to be involved with change, and why change needs to be managed carefully.

For employees, they may have felt comfortable with the services or products they had the ability to provide, with the knowledge and processes they were used to following. Now they have to learn new knowledge and/or processes, requiring more effort to reach the same level of competency at their given tasks as they were capable of previously. Employees need to be able to see that the extra effort they are making for the changes is worth it for them. To share in the vision that the changes are working towards improvement in their company, boosting pride in their work and their trust in the ability of management, rather than reducing their morale and productivity.

For customers, they may be a one off shopper, or one that has been using your company for years, as a reliable source for a service or product they require: If they are uninformed about the changes being made, and why, any inevitable delays or reduced service or product quality during the transition phase would be unexpected and intolerable, causing customers to be frustrated and annoyed. Customers would only see the negative impacts on their services/products as a change towards company incompetence, and would most certainly cause customers to rethink if they would continue using your company, or if they would forward this negativity to other potential customers!

Change management involves effective planning and communication; both before and after changes are implemented, to not only reduce the negative emotional hurdles described above but to overwrite the negative thoughts with positive thoughts towards the change and the company itself. Change management assesses the impacts against the positive gains of a change and then works to (as the song goes) ‘accentuate the positives’ and ‘eliminate the negatives’.

In this case accentuating the positives means building the case for the change, why it needs to be done, what the vision for the future is, and how the change will improve the company. The important part is how you manage that change for the good of all involved.

Eliminating the negatives is probably the more obvious task. It involves ensuring that all possible required resources (people, company ‘systems’, communication services, time/timing and training/education etc.) for a smooth transition are available, making sure any change laws are abided by and ensuring everyone knows how the change will work, where and when. It is important to remember to inform not only employees what is to be expected but suppliers and customers, where the changes may affect their dealings with you. This way any expected negative effects can be minimised, and any unavoidable negative effects can have plans in place to work around problems before they occur, minimising any annoyance and frustration during the transition.

Change is an important factor in any business – make yours a positive experience. Check out our factsheet: HR Policy: Change Management Check List for more detail on making the most of your company changes and overcoming the emotional hurdles to success, or contact Amanda for HR Consulting on the subject of change management at amanda@holgesconsulting.co.uk.

Tweets, Networking & Business Plans– Starting a business – A year on!

first steps starting a business blog photo

A year after starting my own business – what have I learnt, where have I progressed, and what help can that be to others?

So the first year is under my belt and I haven’t become one of the statistics that show that over 2/3rds of businesses fail within the first year. It hasn’t been easy, and a steep learning curve has been scaled. There is still plenty to do to develop myself and the company, but perhaps some of it may help others just starting out on their journey. After all, I have learnt every bit of help is welcome.

Certainly a business plan helped. I was definitely one of those that thought this was a pointless exercise to take up my time, but it made me think about what I was ACTUALLY hoping to do and achieve. Not just a general thought in my mind “Mmm, consultancy, some promotional stuff, website”. Instead I had to focus on the how, when and where. Looking back on it through the year has helped re-focus. The plan changed due to what I learnt along the way, but it proved a worthwhile exercise, and one that is often cited as a reason companies fail.

Social Media was a major education. Facebook was something others did, and Twitter was a thing spoken about by celebrities. I had a LinkedIn page before – but I hadn’t been told what it was really for and the potential it could provide. I now use LinkedIn to connect with people I meet in other areas and as a source of information and potential clients through engaging on the Groups. I Tweet about my services, interesting blogs or info, and a bit of social interaction. I have Facebook, Google + etc. Social media has provided an important link in my in-bound Marketing but I still have more to do and learn. I can however help those that are just starting out and trying to take their first steps – I’m up to toddling!

Networking has become a major player in my development and client list. It has been just over a year since my first meeting where I nervously stood up to tell the room who I was & what I did. My worst nightmare didn’t happen – and although I fumbled through it a bit – they didn’t all point and think I was obviously useless. My confidence grew and I am now found hosting a Networking meeting myself on a Wednesday evening. I still get a bit nervous, but it has helped me speak to others and development my own voice. I network in various locations and group types, I feel it helps to develop relationships and to be supportive to others. Networking works, but you have to develop it, not just hope it is a quick fix.

So as I take a deep breath and consider the last year, I am pleased with the progress made and the future ahead. Time to get going on the next year – now where’s that Business Plan…..