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In the current scenario, the process of change is so important in a business organisation. The competitive business market makes it inevitable. To achieve a good market for an organisation, the system or modes of business have to be got changed. It helps an organisation to compete with contemporary organisations. The change process is become a crisis sometimes. How a manager deals with it makes the difference. The real weapon of a manager is the method he adopt to communicate the change within the organisation.
The organisations are forced to adapt with changes because of some reasons. Advance in technology, globalisation are some factors which force an organisation to adapt with change. The role of governments gets reduced with new policies. This is another factor which affect the change in an organisation (Champy&Nohria, 1996). The market strategy of each organisation differs. So it is important for an organisation to make drastic changes according to the needs. Those changes make their firm unique. So a manager should be updated with new ideas and theories.
When a change occurs or plans to occur, there will be chances of resistance from the employees part. Usually they resist because of the basic intent to resist change in every human being. Rumours and misconceptions will be surrounded within the business environment. There comes the importance of a manager. Nowadays companies have distinct groups to deal with change management. Sometimes they might have a tough task of changing the behavioural patterns of employees. It is a real crisis. So let us discuss how they deal with the change management with good communication skills.
INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
The communication system in an organisation is differentiated in to two. They are internal as well as external communication system. Internal communication deals with the communications within the organisation. External communications deal with the communication with the external factors affecting the business. Our matter of concern, which is communication in the context of change is being dealt with internal communication system.
The internal communication is so important in the organisations to cop up with the needs. It is the way through which the business people within the organisation communicate. The people in the different organs of an organisation are connected through internal communication system.
Internal communication can be defined as follows, Internal communication is a form of corporate communication and can be formal or informal, upward, downward, or horizontal (dictionary.bnet.). It is to be identified that who is communicating and to whom the communication is made according to the situation. Appropriate tools or supports for communication should be used as well.
Team briefing, newsletters, electronic mails, mails, intranet, interviewing, memos, meetings, employee councils or work councils, mobile phones and reports are some supports use for communication. The communication support should be selected according to the situation, the communicator and the listener (sdcn.). Identifying audience is an essential and important step to be taken for the pertinent communication.
CHANGE AND REASONS
It is important for an organisation to get adopted their own in the business globe to survive (Kebapci&Erkal, 2009). When the reasons for change are collected, the ultimate reason is none other than the need for survival. The globalisation made a large market and it forced the companies to change their field and strategies. The companies widen their area of business because of globalisation.
The advance in technology in recent era is another factor which accelerated the chances for change. The introduction of internet and its popularity increased the chances for business with the support of it and ultimately companies are forced to change because of this also. The advancement in every aspect of technology needs changes and organisation adopt with it as well.
The companies are getting changed with these liberal policies of governments and other international organisations. It makes the organisations role bigger, and widen the business market of them. Change becomes a necessity for organisations here. Champy&Nohria mentioned these three reasons in the book FAST FORWARD in 1996.
In the research it is felt that financial slowdown is another factor in the recent period which altered the strategies and plans of companies. The recession hit companies altered their whole strategies and other firms which did not hit by crisis altered their strategies not to hit by the recession. A lot of companies went for job cuts and other ways to decrease their expenses and to increase their profits. Infosys in India, Barclays in UK, and Wall Mart in USA are examples.
TYPES OF CHANGES
There are four types of organisational changes. They are strategic changes, structural changes, process oriented changes and people centred changes (Sudan & Kumar, 2004)
Strategic changes are the changes altering the basic strategies of an organisation to attain the goals of it. The strategies are changed according to the needs of the market. The strategy of legal firms in USA an UK to outsource their works to third world countries made a big change in the business world.
Structural changes deal with the alteration of structural characteristics of an organisation. The changes in the hierarchy of authority come under this type of change. Alteration in the administrative procedures and management are also structural changes. According to the needs companies like GM changed their structure of management to flat structure and it resulted in a huge impact in profit.
3-Process oriented changes
Companies alter the process of their system with the advancement of technology or other factors. This is process oriented change. The introduction of robotics in production methods in companies are example of process oriented change.
4-People oriented changes
People oriented changes are changes which alters the behavioural patterns of people within an organisation. It involves the changes in attitudes, Performance and behaviours of people within an organisation.
CHALLENGES IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGE
Kubler- Rose model explains five stages of grief (Hingley & Cooper, 1986). The stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages are part of the change program also. It is human tendency to deny a change at its starting stage. There will be ambiguous mentality in those whom will be affected by the process of change. There will be rumours and diverse interpretation about the impact of change. Some personal interests direct changes in the environment as a resistance of change. Misunderstanding and low tolerance is the main challenge caused by the process of change. Each type of challenges are to be dealt with different approaches to tackle the situation.
Increased stress and additional work for the workers are another challenge faced by the change process. Uncertainty, difference in perceptions and evaluation are other challenges. Motivation is the positive measure to overcome these challenges (Kebapci & Erkal, 2009)
STEPS INVOLVED IN CHANGE
Levins three step model says Refreeze, Move and Unfreeze are the three steps of change process (Cameron and Green, 2004). The first step involves the current state, the describing the necessity of change, the second step move is the implementation of change and forcing the employees to participate in the change process. The final step unfreeze deals with the stabilization of the changed environment and make of the changed system permanent. There are 8 steps which are necessary for the successful execution of change process according to Kotter (Wickam, 2004).
Establishing Sense of urgency.
It must be felt by the top level managers that the status quo should change. A sense of urgency should be created and established within the organisation as the first step of change process.
Creating a powerful coalition.
A team should be set up for the change process. The team must be a powerful one to create a sense of importance for the process. The position of the team is important. It should include main line managers to overcome the blocks from the left outs. Good expertise should be included by experience, discipline and nationality etc. The team must contain members having high reputation for the credibility of the team. The team should contain enough leaders whose skills are proven. If such leaders are not available within the organisation, they should be brought for the easy going of the process of change.
Developing a vision.
According to Kotter, a vision of change will make the process easier. The vision must be imaginable to show the future. The vision must be desirable and feasible to show the long term interests and realistic, attainable goals. And the vision must be focused, communicable and flexible. Such a vision will help to make a decision and it will help to communicate the idea easily to the members of the organisation.
Communication of the change
Communication is an important matter of concern in the process of change. It is really important in the change process to identify the audience. The knowledge of audience, their culture, the nationality, their attitude, the tradition etc should be taken into consideration. Their custom may not allow the change process in to action. Then the tactical moves of the team of communication only can make them convince them with clear vision of the change. Two way communication system is always adopted than one way communication in the context of change. It will help to reduce the rumours and misconceptions of employees.
Key messages can be passed to the audience at the pertinent timings. The messages must be transferred through the medium which can hit the audience with the clear idea of change. The communication should be made often. The messages must be passed several times to avoid the misconceptions of the employees. And it will help to make an impact of the necessity of the process in the organisation. The messages passed must avoid technical and tough words which make the employees confused. The idea must be passed to them in a crystal clear format. Determining the delivery method, frequency methods and trends are so important in the progression of the change process.
It is important to structure the efforts of the communication team to make the process easier. The communication process must start in an easier format. It will help to avoid the tough and technical difficulties of communication.
It will be an advantage to pre assesses the questions which have more probability to be raised by the employees earlier and find out the apt answers for them. It will help the management team to clarify the doubts and rumours of the employees.
Preferred senders should be selected earlier to communicate different classes of employees. The official messages can be communicated by the CEO or president of the organisation for the reliability. At the same time personal messages in the context of change can be communicated by the supervisor of the employees for the emotional reliability. Following graph shows the bench mark study of 2007 on preferred senders.
Empowering employees to act on the vision
On completion of the successful communication of vision to the employees, the team should concentrate on building structures compatible to the vision communicated. The failure of some customer focused changes is the result of non adaptation of organisational structures. The employees must be given the pertinent training program for the successful execution of the vision. The training of new skills, attitudes and behaviour make the employees empowered and ultimately to the success of the change vision. For a major change, it is necessary to implement such cost effective, meaningful training programs in an organisation.
Generating short- term wins
In a major change, the ultimate success may be attained in a long time period. Then short term wins for the process of change is good for the program. It will help to increase the pressure on the employees. It is good to have visible, unambiguous, related short term changes are useful ways to keeping up the urgency of the change program, especially when the change is a long process.
Consolidation of improvements and production of more changes
It is important to celebrate the short term wins and it will increase the momentum of the program as it makes an impact that the process is half done and the ultimate aim is near. When the process is on progress, new people should be added to the management of the project to deal with the new changes. At the same time, the senior managers should have a clear supervision over the progress of the project. Avoidance of more interdependencies is as important as the above said proposals.
Anchor the new approaches in the culture
The clear over look over the embedded culture within the organisation according to the changing nature is an essential thing and it is the critical point in the change process. To embed the new culture within the organisation, an impact should be created that the new approach is better than the old one. The need of an alteration of habits and thinking pattern in a culture may be implemented before even the process of progress. It is necessary to have global understanding and responsibility for that. The team of change need to be trained themselves with more situational details to encounter with the change (Van Riel& Fombrun, 2007).
There are positive ways to handle the stress of intercultural situation, whether there be one time encounters or frequent dialogues in multi cultural settings(M J Bennet,1998).
Only with good verbal support, training and supports from the management, the workers will be able to work up to the expectation of the vision of change. The hardest task in the process may be the implementation of cultural differences within the organisation. To overcome this difficulty, the human resources should be compatible according to the new culture, otherwise with the old ways of human resource, the old culture of the employees may revive. These difficulties make the importance of communication process more vital.
It is understood that change is a necessity and with change, challenges against it also created. In the thorough study about change, the importance of a communication process in the process of change is come to known in present environment.
The two major changes made in the organisational structure in Tata Tea was a huge success. The separation of companys branded and plantation operations into independent value added centres made greater value in both the operations. Secondly, the integration of sales and marketing operations made much needed marketplace synergy to the firm. These are executed within the organisation with a special team of change in 2002-03 periods (tata.). This is a good example for the success of a change process with a special team of communication.
It can be said that for a better process of change, a special management team is essential and they should have special managerial techniques and processes. A good communication among the top layer, middle layer and the working class makes the whole process an easy one. The leadership of the organisation must have a clear vision about the change, process of change and the communication method they are about to execute before the implementation of the change process. The success of the process of change depends upon the level of communication that exists in the organisation. The special team made to overcome the difficulties must have the ability to go to all layers with their communication skills.