Leading change as pertaining to employees is defined as the process of steering the emotions and reactions of employees who are faced with changes in the work place to preempt associated negative effects. If you are a manager of a company that is exposed to consistent change, below are a few indicators that will identify an employee's natural reaction to change and how to reduce unproductive behavior related to this change.
Types of Reactions
Like all human beings, employees respond to change either positively or negatively. The reaction is unique to every individual and is based on the perceived implications of the change to each employee's welfare. If the change is considered as cataclysmic and portending to adversity, it will draw a negative reaction. If the change is considered to be beneficial, a positive response is observed.
Causes of Change
Change is inevitable in business and a business's ability to survive in the future is determined by its ability to adapt to change. Change in the workplace is brought about by acquisitions, mergers, downsizing, restructuring and new technologies. Their severity and frequency is determined by the state of the world's economy. The mentioned effects were common during the great depression, and now it is currently being echoed in the present time.
Negative Reactions and Remedies
Sustained negative reactions to change by employees lead to decrease in productivity as well as profitability which spell disaster for the business. Examples of frequently experienced negative reactions are:
Reduction of productivity: The atmosphere of ambiguity and uncertainty brought about by a change in the work place results in decreased employee productivity. This decrease in productivity is an indirect result of the unhealthy and natural self protective mechanism. This might be manifested in an employee becoming less supportive to his colleagues because of competition or lack of motivation. This situation is contained when the manager addresses the fears of employees by explaining why the change was necessary and how the change will benefit them and their role.
Absenteeism: Companies dealing with change might register an increase in the number of employees absent from work due to stress related illnesses. As the employees deal with the implications of the change, they are unable to control the anxiety brought about by the situation which ultimately manifests itself as mental deterioration. The remedy to the problem is achieved when the manager allows the employees to voice their fears in an interactive forum.
Loss of valuable employees: Organizations undergoing change run the risk of losing their skilled labor through attrition as qualified employees seek alternative stable employment elsewhere. This problem is solved when the managers effectively communicates an impending change that is due to come well in advance and incorporate employees in the process.