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Change readiness important for business growth

Mar 14 2016 17:19

Johannesburg - Change within a business is not only an inevitable step in the process of growth, but can also serve as a catalyst for further growth, if managed effectively, according to Claire Simon, consulting psychologist at HR Consultancy Work Dynamics.

In today’s dynamic and fast-paced environment, businesses must adapt or risk becoming obsolete. However, managing change effectively must be viewed as an opportunity to improve rather than a chore, she added. Any change experienced by businesses, whether big or small, is often viewed as turbulent.

“Therefore, it is important to shift focus from change management to change leadership - with a strong emphasis on change readiness. While implementing changes in business can come at a risk, it can come with great rewards too,” said Simon.

“As unsettling as these events may sound, they are crucial for growth and becoming more accessible as an organisation.”

These "risk changes" can include mergers, acquisitions, broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), technological developments and changes in leadership.
 
“Change is inevitable and affects the employees the most, as they have to adapt their daily processes to accommodate the change. Many organisations tend to focus primarily on keeping up with their competitors and other commercial elements of business, meaning that the human factor may be neglected. This is problematic, because a dedicated and motivated team of workers forms the backbone of most organisations,” cautioned Simon.

When it comes to ensuring that change progresses efficiently and smoothly, communication is imperative.

“Preparing for and transitioning through change can be overwhelming and organisations have to provide an open platform for employees to express their concerns prior to the changes,” she explained.

“Firstly, employees must be informed timeously of change to ensure everyone is aware of the process. Secondly, a transparent approach to involve employees is required to stimulate engagement across all levels of the business. Finally, the change must be integrated into the organisation without hindering the commitment and attitudes of the employees.”

This can be accomplished if leaders within the organisation act as the change agents and assist with transparency and honesty during the progression of change, in her view.

“Sound leadership will demonstrate an inordinate level of care on the part of senior management, in turn resulting in high levels of trust and compliance from the employees,” said Simon.

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