Managing Effects of Change on Relationships by Change Management Speaker Mike Hourigan
In this, the second part of our series on managing change, inspirational change management speaker on change and employee relationships Mike Hourigan discusses how change affects employee relations.
In today’s organization, relationships with co-workers are dynamic. Certainly, remote and contract workers come and go, and those we may work with for years may move away, retire or change positions. Even those changes are anticipated; for example, “Marge,” the CFO, may decide to move to Florida after 27 years of service, or “Pete” the marketing director may be asked to accept the director of marketing position for the Singapore office.
However, as a change management speaker especially focused on the effects of that change on people, I have learned that nothing strikes fear throughout a staff as much as changes that are incurred during a merger or acquisition. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of adjustments and these translate into dread that old relationships will be shattered and the “new guys” will bring in new systems, software, manuals, training and expectations.
Anthony Edwards, writing in 2017 for Quantum Workplace related this insightful remark: “The emotions that one goes through when mourning include denial, anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. Although there’s no funeral to attend, a similar group of emotions can run the course for some employees who are asked to part ways with meaningful parts of their work identities. Getting excited about the future vision and remaining engaged with their work can be hard.”
Mr. Edwards also explained that during a merger or acquisition, unless supervisors reach out to their employees to ease apprehensions, there is a tendency to for employees to circle the wagons, keep heads down and fend for themselves. This is precisely the outcome that should be avoided.
It is Your Responsibility to Help Those Who Help You
Peter Economy, writing for inc. magazine emphasizes that nothing beats training and preparation. “Make time available to your employees to learn new skills. Give them an opportunity to prepare for change with more skills or experience. Preparation and training can help them transition more easily into new roles, or look for work in another areas or organizations, should it become a necessity.”
In an organization undergoing change, not giving employees the time, training and preparation to get up to speed forces them to fend for themselves and opens them up to feeling they are not meeting the expectations of their new co-workers.
Robert Tanner, Founder and Principal of Business Consulting Solutions states “Listen to your team for what is said and what is not said and respond as appropriate. In general, let your employees know that you are there with them throughout this change to help alleviate their fear of change.”
Mr. Tanner also explains that no manager should expect employees to adjust to new systems, software or any other wholesale changes without going through those changes as well. Employees need to know you have their back.
Don’t let these folks down in the period when they are at their most vulnerable and frightened of what is next. They have been there for you. Be there for them.
Book Mike Hourigan, America’s Motivational Speaker on Change & Employee Relationships for Companies in Transition for your next event. For more information on Mike Hourigan’s inspiration keynotes and breakouts, call today at: (704) 875-3030 or by filling out the form below.
View part 1 & 3 of our series on change management:
- Change Management Speaker for Companies in Transition
- Motivational Speaker on Change & Employee Relationships Mike Hourigan
- Motivational Changs Management Speaker on Change and Employee Security