Thursday, January 29, 2015

Organizational change. Big words. Huge impact.

In business, it is so true that "the only thing constant is change." Changes are being made to improve the business process, to increase the company's financial gain and to be able to serve the customers better. Careful planning must be done to avoid a negative impact on the company's front-liners. These people are the ones working to keep the business afloat, therefore, implementing poorly thought of changes will cause employee unrest - and the business suffers.

What should be done to effect change and yet keep the employees happy? Here are some of the factors that should be taken into consideration:

Financial Impact:
What motivates your employees to go to work everyday? The number one reason is compensation. A rank and file employee knows that as long as they work 40 hours a week,  they will get paid. Should they exceed their targets, they know they will be receiving incentives for exemplary work. They know how much they expect to receive and they have carefully planned out the family budget until the next payday comes.

If the proposed change will affect their finances, think twice before you initiate your plan. If you ignore this, then you will be looking at dissatisfaction at work, increased number of absences, and worst, attrition. Organizational change with salary cuts is not good at all.

"If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings—and put compensation as a carrier behind it—you almost don't have to manage them."
— Jack Welch

Transparency:
The best way to reduce the negative impact of organizational change is to be honest. Talk to your employees. Inform them of the changes that management is planning to implement. Changes should NOT be kept secret until the day of implementation. Your front liners are the ones who have put money in your fat bank account. Why should they be left out in the planning? The key point here is to involve them in the decision making process.

"Leaders who make it a practice to draw out the thoughts and ideas of their subordinates and who are receptive even to bad news will be properly informed. Communicate downward to subordinates with at least the same care and attention as you communicate upward to superiors."
— L. B. Belker

Mental Stress and Demotivation:
This is to be expected in any organizational change, especially if an employees' finances are affected and their life-work balance is disrupted. When this happens, the first thing that management will notice is a decrease in productivity. Employees may then start coming in late, taking longer than usual lunch breaks, or even skip work. The "devil may care" attitude hovers over the work place like an ugly dark cloud. Employee morale is a very fragile component of the work environment and this should always be taken into consideration. Managers should put themselves in the shoes of the front-liners. Work to create a win-win situation in every proposed organizational change. 

“If you slave away every day at a job you hate and come home drained and frustrated, what is that teaching your kids?” 
― Alexander Kjerulf, Happy Hour is 9 to 5

Situation in the Home:
Are your frontliners the breadwinners in the family? Do they have to attend to the care of a child, or an aging parent after work hours? Are their working hours beneficial for them to maintain efficiency at work, attend to family responsibilities and still get enough rest? Will the proposed organizational change significantly alter their life outside of work? It is true that there is no single formula that would work for everyone, however, constant communication and feedback from the employees will provide valuable information to arrive at a decision where everyone will be happy.

"A company that pays attention to the family unit is a successful company. We don't isolate the family. We don't make rides that say, 'Hey mom, dad, you go sit on the bench.'"
- Michael Eisner

I am but one of the millions of corporate slaves working in a call center. I have hungered to find contentment in my job. I thirst for acknowledgment of my sacrifice. I do not need certificates, gift checks or what-nots. I need to feel satisfied in what I do, get paid for my efforts, come home happy and stay healthy. I know it is only a dream and a that there is no perfect job that ever existed, and will never exist.

An upcoming change will be rolled out at work. The reasons are unbelievably shallow and has no business impact. I may be wrong, who knows? Everything is kept secret. "This is all I can tell you," is the trending sentence. As much as I voice out my opinions (or protest), I know I will never be heard. If I push my concerns, I would be at risk of losing my job. I could get a memo for insubordination. It is a death trap. Take it or leave it - that's the rule.

What do you think I would do? As always, I'd take everything with a grain of salt.

Why? Because that's just the way it is. I am a corporate slave.


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