Strategies for handling organizational change at the office (reorganization)

Organization change is a common occurrence in businesses as they can be triggered by both large- and small-scale events with your organization.  Such events may be triggered by a new CEO, company acquisition, or even small a change in your direct manager or peers.  However large or small the trigger event, the impact to the employees may be profound.  It is up to both the individuals impacted by the change and management team to ensure the most positive outcome.  Below are several specific strategies to deal with your new topsy turvy organization changes:

How to deal with organization changes from a manager’s perspective

As a manager, it is up to you to ensure that your team does not suffer when organization change occurs.  It does not matter if this organization change stems from your decisions or an externally driven factor: it is your responsibility.  So, what can you do ensure the organization change is efficient with minimal negative impact to you team?  Below are six strategies to help you:

  1. Communication – The most important thing you can do when organization change occurs is to communicate with your team.  You should be communicating regularly and often about the change that is impacting your team.  What worries teams the most when it come to organization change is not the change itself, but the uncertainty that it creates.  If we are able to efficiently and effectively communication, we can minimize this feeling of uncertainty for our teams.
  2. Maintain a Positive attitude – when we in the midst of the change we need to hold and express a positive attitude.  While not all aspects of the organization change may be under your control, your personal attitude is.  Recognizing that the change is stressful to you as well as your team, a manager must nonetheless remain upbeat and enthusiastic about the future.  For me personally, I like to focus heavily on the intent behind the org change.  Why is this being done? What is the goal? If we are able to look critically at the change, we will find the intent is likely made with a positive intention.  This allow me to focus on the positive.
  3. Involve your employees whenever possible.  This may not be possible in all organization changes, but when possible, you should involve your employee in the decisions about the change.  When individuals are involved, they will be more invested in the change and feel less concern. 
  4. Ask for feedback.  It is impossible for us to understand how are teams are feeling when change occurs. Unless we ask and ask often, we are simply making assumption.  Depending on the size of our organization, we have to ask for feedback using various approaches:
    • One-on-one conversation – this is probably the best approach to feedback as we can hear directly from individuals in our team on their concerns.  However, this approach may not be possible with large organizations as it would be too time consuming.
    • Round-table discussion – For larger organizations, we can solicit feedback from several individuals at a given time through round-table discussion.  Here we take a small group and have a “many on one” discussion.  This has the advantage of being more time efficient than one-on-one discussion; however, has the disadvantage that people may not feel comfortable speaking out in groups. 
    • Survey/drop box – one may use tools such as surveys and drop boxes to solicit confidential feedback
  5. Express Empathy.  Showing your team that you hear, understand, and care about their feelings will go a long way.  It may not immediately resolve their fears, but will build trust and give some level of comfort.  Who wants to work in an organization or for a manager who doesn’t care about their team?
  6. Express Gratitude.  Organization change is difficult and painful no matter what.  A word of thanks to your team around their efforts to support the change will do wonders.

By following these few tips, we can help ease the uncertainty of organization change and help to make the change a success.

How to deal with organization changes as an individual’s perspective

So, you are going through a change in your organization?  What does this feel like? Very likely you are feeling scared, worried about the future, and even demoralized and demotivated.  These feeling change bring about significant stresses to your life, but fear not, there are strategies that you can take to each this transition.

  1. Look for the intent of the organization change – We need to recognize that organization changes are typically brought about for very specific and typically positive reasons.  There may be troubles in the organization which this change is meant to fix.  If you can identify this intent, you may be able to change your mental state about the change and ensure that you are part of the solution moving forward.
  2. Put yourself into a positive state about the organization change.  We must recognize that change in inevitable, difficult, and painful in many cases; however, the decision for the change has already been made.  You are not in control of this change and change is coming whether you like it or not.  So why dwell on the negatives?  Why focus on what you cannot control?  You do hold control over your own metal state; you can make a choice to view this change as a positive.  You must take the effort to identify those positives and try to relate those back to opportunities for you.  It may present new opportunities for career growth: it may present new learning opportunities or it may present an opportunity for your contributions to shine.   
  3. Participate in the organization change.  Once you are in a positive state about the change, volunteer to be part of the change.  Take assignments which are aligned with the intent of the organization change.  By doing so you will show your management that you are a valued member of the team.
  4. Ask Questions.  Be open about questions and concerns you have about the change.  It is OK to ask clarifying questions and express concerns, but at the end of the day, be involved and supporting of the change.
  5. Balance work and home.  Never forget to keep focus on what matters the most. 

Hopefully these few tips help you manage change in your organization.

As always, focus on your own self continuous improvement and you will succeed in facing whatever challenge lies ahead.

Related Posts