8 Things About Organisational Change and Development You May Not Have Known

Organisational change and development refers to the collection of processes followed by organisations with the aim of optimising their performance and working towards increasing the bottom line. While change is inevitable and a necessity at times, it is important that change is minimal, incremental and subtle, and controls and policies help achieve this.

Here are some interesting facts and tips on organisational change you may not have given much thought to:

Competition drives organisational change

Competitive pressures are a huge agent for change. With the ever increasing penetration of technology, customers are exposed to competing local and global providers, and hence, companies are forced to be more innovative in their product development and process improvement, more efficient in their “doing” and hence save time and cut costs, and in turn allocate higher budgets for research and new product development. 

Avoid adding complexity, processes, and systems to cope with change. The operations should always aim to simplify not make things more complex.

Change is essential to make Mergers & Acquisitions work

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) are a very common occurrence in today’s day and age. While M&As are generally preceded by an assessment of the cultures of the individual organisations to evaluate how well the companies complement each other, there is a large amount of change that is bound to happen post M&As. 

Some of the ways of managing this form of change is by appointing an Integration Manager/Team, having a transition plan and brainstorming prior to the merger or acquisition about the possible issues that could come up and devise solutions in foresight. Letting affected departments to fight it out might be easier but rarely useful.

Governmental/Legal legislation force change

Businesses operate within and are bound by the laws of various entities, be it a community, a state, region or the world in general. Due to various occurrences and shifts in leadership, laws and legislation of doing business may change, causing businesses in the industry to change accordingly. 

The key is to implement changes in regulatory requirements with minimum impact on customer service and ease of doing business. The tendency of "belt and braces" approach without thought of the impact on the customer needs to be fought at all costs.

Technology causes change

The evolution of technology is an important point of discussion relating to organisational change. Improvements in technology and their adoption by firms may cause the processes, culture, and workload to change. Technology may automate work done by humans and cause lesser work opportunities, or may upscale capabilities and result in a rise of work. 

Either way, adoption of new technology can cause an organisation to change. It is important to actually remove process steps, including controls, no longer required with new technology - not doing so leads to massive confusion in the future.

Customer pressure

As explained before, customers are more informed and aware of competition as well as about product development because of the emergence of technology. This creates a pressure on companies to innovate and hence drives change. 

Adding to the offer without managing obsolescence of processes and technology is a losing approach as instead of reducing costs with the advent of technology and customer requests to do their own transactions themselves perversely costs, complexity and satisfaction can go down.

Re-engineering, Restructuring, and Innovation

These are thought of to be the 3 main ways in which change can occur

  • Re-engineering refers to changes in organisational processes in order to be as unique and to meet the needs to customers as much as possible. 
  • Restructuring refers to changes in the organisation’s structure in order to increase efficiency and maximise profit, or to adopt changing cultures or situations.
  • Innovation in this context refers to developing more efficient ways of getting things done within the organisation. However, a recent article by FinExtra Research suggests that to reap the full advantage of digital revolution and to welcome innovation, the banking industry needs to get rid of its “Back-office-baggage” - infrastructure. Where possible, innovation will be the one with most possible benefits and therefore most "risks". Banks should move away from operational risk avoidance, which is futile in the long term, to one of risk managers ensuring risks are contained.

Managing change is the responsibility of a good leader

Accepting and adjusting to organisational change is a process, and a good manager is one who understands and supports the “what” and the “why” of change and is willing to demonstrate in word and deed that it is an essential component of moving forward. 

A leader will have to play the role of a resistance manager, liaison officer, a communicator, an advocate and at times a coach, sharing the workload and the responsibility and celebrating small wins along the way. These are not all elements that can be delegated to junior people alone.

Change needs to involve people, not be imposed on them

The most important fact about change is that it needs to involve people. Changes in organisations need to be conveyed to employees in a way that involves and upholds them, rather than imposes on them. 

Often, change announcements include requesting employees for a “change of mind-set/attitude”. What is needed is participation and involvement of employees in the early stages of change. This could be aided by; 

  • Workshops, which could be helpful in creating a common and collective understanding of the changes to the policies and methods
  • Staff surveys, allowing staff to express their views anonymously, allowing you to really get to the bottom of things

Change management policies and procedures are essential aspects of any company’s growth strategy. However, change may be difficult to accept and absorb due to the inherent instinct of humans and society to stick to the status quo. Hence, the challenge for managers is to deal with employees and change with empathy and grow and nurture a culture that facilitates change within the organisation