Serious organizational change can be a bittersweet moment for businesses. Employees and managers are both excited and terrified of major shifts, and it’s important that managers and leaders know how to handle the pressure.
Maybe your small business is experiencing a growth spurt, or maybe there’s a change in the industry that requires some adjustments in the workflow; whatever it is, change can be intimidating.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to be completely against change. Businesses that want to stay successful need to know how to adjust to changes in their industry all the time, and those that can’t adjust fall behind. Nevertheless, ensuring your staff can make the adjustment too should be on the forefront of every leader’s mind. Without hard working employees, a business is doomed to fail.
Take for example RadioShack. I was a manager during the most tumultuous years of the company; when everything around them was shifting and growing. Technology-based retailers were popping up everywhere, and RadioShack wanted to jump on the contracted phone bandwagon before they were left in the dust. Unfortunately, the adjustment came too late, and the CEO was forced to exit his space in the company. This change at such a high level had serious effects on store employees, as the new CEO took his place and changed all the rules. Instead of adjusting slowly and making sure the employees could adapt, the company completely abandoned plan after plan every few weeks; trying to find the sweet spot to success. Ultimately, the company failed, and employees at the lowest level were affected the most heavily by the negligence of the top executives.
Small Businesses are especially prone to organizational shifts. Due to the “small” nature of local brick and mortars, any shift in management, production, or personnel can creating a jarring wave of concern among employees. Managers and owners need to prioritize communication and the needs of employees at all times to maintain a high morale, but especially during organizational change.
When I was working for a small indie bookstore in Boise, we had a serious shift in our business. We expanded our store by nearly twice its original size! It was very exciting, but the sudden change in size was intimidating to employees.
On top of that, there was a very swift shift in management. The new manager focused heavily on the expansion, and neglected the needs of their employees. No communication among staff, no opportunity for mentorship or questions, and a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the work and suggestions of staff resulted in a complete shift of the hired help. Within a six months span, 7 of the 10 employees left the business and the owner was forced to make hasty hiring decisions and retrain an entirely new staff. A move that no doubt cost the company valuable time and money in their newly expanded space.
When employee questions and concerns are ignored by management, this causes immense stress within the organization. Stress leads to unhappiness, lack of motivation to complete tasks, and overall serious profit losses. Employees will leave the organization unhappy, and companies will have to lose thousands of dollars on work wasted while they train new hires.
If managers and owners want to do what is best for their organization, then they should follow the example of great leaders within business and do their part to make organizational change a breeze for their employees. Maryville University has put together this helpful infographic looking at just how employers can help their employees adjust to new changes. From realizing the need to change, all the way to implementation, follow this guide by business professionals to make change a breeze for your company. Check it out:
About Katie McBeth:
Katie McBeth is a freelance writer out of Boise, ID, with experience in marketing for small businesses and management. She spends her free time being the mother of three cats and a dog named Toby. You can follow her animal and writing adventures on Instagram or Twitter: @ktmcbeth.