Webinar Takeaways Series : Organisational Change

By Skills Hub - 28th May 2020

In this series of blogs our Skills Connector Ian Watkiss has turned roving reporter. He has been attending many of the free online webinars and has condensed his findings into these easy to digest bullet point takeaways.

Webinars are a great way to continue learning during these unusual circumstances. If you want to catch up on what's available check out our News & Events page ... or follow this blog series to see the Skills Hub practicing what they preach and upskilling online!

Organisational Change

Reflections a recent webinars from Truro & Penwith College:
Managing Change: Organisational Change

Businesses have undergone a huge amount of change recently, and change can be challenging at the best of times.  Therefore, this substantial, unplanned and reactive change has probably left many employers and employees in much need of regrouping. 

This recent virtual training from Truro & Penwith College acknowledged this and was really interesting, as it highlighted some of the theory behind managing change, whilst allowing participants to come away with not just a fresh perspective, but also some reassurance that they have handled things rather better than they may have given themselves credit for. 

Key Takeaways

Staff responses to change under normal circumstances have been amplified by current events

  • Broadly speaking, organisational change can filter people into three groups: the ‘up for it’, the curious and the resistant.  People will naturally begin to compare what is new to how things have always been. They will have anxieties during periods of uncertainty, and possibly rail at the perceived suggestion that they were not doing a good enough job in the first place. 
  • However, add on top of this the current pandemic situation and you begin to exacerbate these feeling with fears for health and worry about finances and generally being swamped with “what if?” questions.  There is also the stress which comes with isolation and family & caring issues.
  • Unchecked this will naturally be draining for individuals, which robs people of the energy required to cope and capacity to adapt to change.

Change can fail but also if managed well can thrive

  • Things to look out for which can compromise organisational change getting off the ground are:
    1) people not feeling adequately trained to operate in a changed way
    2) the concept of poor ‘social accounting’ whereby the logic behind change is not adequately conveyed
    3) not getting buy-in because the change is seen as poorly planned, or as a quick fix undertaken with a lack of values or vision. 

  • Communication therefore is very important to mitigate the above, and don’t assume that because someone isn’t directly communicating with you that there isn’t an issue
  • Consider the reinforcement required to smooth the path of change which could be either be emotional or more tangible, work or non-work related. 
  • Help people to build skills for change through letting them see how the required new behaviours relate to the way things used to be done. Let them understand clearly what this change will lead to, and facilitate their ability to undertake the new behaviours through training and demonstration.

Human beings need certain conditions to thrive through change

  • People operate best when they feel that they are agents of change as opposed to objects to be changed
  • Individuals come with a variety of backgrounds and ways of seeing the world so it’s understandable that people will change at different rates
  • We all work best when we are creative and feel engaged and able to explore. Feeling content and integrated into the team are also important and lead to a sense of pride in our work resulting a happiness to share the results.
  • Change is more easily assimilated if demonstrated and explained by those we trust and model ourselves upon.  Who are the most influential people in your organisation?  Is it a long-standing employee who everyone trusts to know what is going on?  Or is it a regular ‘go-to’ person who is a great problem solver who others respect? 

Resistant behaviours could actually be a sign of commitment

  • A lack of quality communication can lead to cognitive dissonance in which a person still carries out the change whilst thinking and feeling negatively about it.  This can lead to resistant behaviours such as displays of anger or a ‘work to rule’ mentality. 
  • The strange and encouraging thing about this however is that this also shows that the individual in fact cares enough about their job and employer to resist in the first place.  This is energy which can be transformed into a positive force if harnessed well. 

People operate best when they feel that they are agents of change as opposed to objects to be changed

Woman on a tablet illustration