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Challenges of Employee Engagement During Times of Change

by Caug124

June 17th, 2010
3
Comments

Every time something significant changes in an organization, challenges result. Some of the challenges are personal, some evolve within work teams, and some challenges emerge across the organization. To successfully engage organizational change, we need to be aware of the challenges and be prepared to deal with them professionally and confidently.

Change typically generates at least some resistance. Individuals often feel that they are losing power, autonomy, or resources due to a changing work environment. As a result, they cling to the status quo. As team members in change engagement, our role is to challenge ourselves and persuade others to lower their resistance and focus on positive outcomes.

One of the biggest challenges of change engagement is simply getting people to take change seriously. During periods of change, individuals often take a “wait and see” attitude, neither embracing nor resisting the change. Our challenge is to inspire ourselves and others to embrace change, support it, and even become champions for it.

Change often generates anxiety. Individuals are more likely to embrace change, and teams function more successfully when anxiety is at a minimum. Our challenge in minimizing anxiety is to understand the plan for change, to express our level of commitment to the plan, and to recognize that the plan and our role in it will evolve during the change.

Organizational change may create breakdowns in organizational cooperation. During change, organizations often observe the “silo effect” between departments, functions, and work teams. This is when groups begin to function independently of departments or teams whose responsibilities overlap with theirs. Cooperation and communication are at a minimum. As participants in organizational change, we are challenged to break down those walls and build bridges of cooperation between organizational functions.

When the work environment is changing, there is typically confusion over priorities. If we are getting a new manager, for instance, what will he or she think is the most important priority? If we are to come out of the change successfully, what should we focus on first? This challenge is met through careful and thorough planning.

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  1. Guy Farmer /

    Change is only as difficult as we make it. It’s possible to reduce the effects of change if we train people to communicate and work together more effectively. This can be accomplished by having a leadership program that helps leaders learn how to communicate event the most difficult news in a way that does not create chaos. It also helps to help staff learn problem solving skills that enable them to deal with any challenge in a systematic way that is more proactive than reactive. Building a foundation that anticipates changes is a positive way to help leaders and employees navigate the challenges that come their way.

  2. Varanasi Ramprasad /

    The only thing that is permanent in life is change. As rightly said, it is the human tendency to resist change, only because every one feels why take the risk? What is needed is the right leadership that would provide attitudinal change in people, making them understand, the need for change, making them participative in the change management scenario, giving them confidence to with stand the stress and strain associated with change and providing the right direction and guidance while encouraging them to try the new root.

  3. Kavita /

    Change is difficult to adapt to, but it is inevitable. The problem with most of today’s workplaces is that they don’t expose the employee to change, which is why when faced with it, they aren’t able to cope with it. So organizations must first change the way they work. Like Vineet Nayar has said in his book ‘Employees First, Customers Second’, organizations must transfer the ownership of change to their employees, and this can be done by getting rid of organizational hierarchy. He calls it the principle of ‘Destroying the office of the CEO’, wherein employees are given the direct responsibility of decision making. This also would simultaneously give them an incentive to work hard, reach goals, obtain rewards, and thus, unlock potential that may have been previously untapped.