Handling Organizational Change at Any Level

Experts agree, no matter what our feelings on impending changes might be, the stress that inevitably comes along with any inter-office shake-up can have a negative impact on workers’ psyches.

Organizational change is almost always difficult—employees often feel threatened or undermined—and rightfully so. Words like restructuring, downsizing, and pivoting can trigger major alarm bells and dizzying fears of job loss or insecurity.

Here are some ways you can feel more at ease—no matter where you fall in the chain of command.

Be Part of the Change

Times of transition have been linked with job insecurity, a lack of information and a general air of panic. But it doesn’t need to be that way.

What is the reason for the change? A need to trim down costs? A push toward a more technology centric future work environment?  The best way forward is to adapt. Consider this an opportunity to learn and grow—share your ideas on how you feel the company can meet a new set of goals.

Be receptive to working with new teams and position yourself as a driver for change. While organizational shake-ups may be out of your control, the way you handle them doesn’t have to be. Learn to see the positive—hey, this change may pave the road to new opportunities in the long term.

Take Stock of Feelings at All Levels

Great bosses know they can’t achieve the desired results if their team isn’t happy. Whether you’re in middle management or the C-Suite, listen to feedback, fears, and concerns, from all levels within the chain of command.

People may feel that impending change triggers a loss of security or a fear of being be pushed out. Or maybe it’s a fear of a negative impact on salary or a loss of responsibility. The latter is becoming ever more common, as many offices are shifting toward a flattened hierarchy in the workspace. This loss of status might feel like a demotion to middle managers.

If you fall somewhere toward the bottom of the workplace totem pole, these times of change present an opportunity to share your concerns with the higher-ups.

Keep Communication Channels Wide Open

As a boss, make good on that open-door policy. Talk to employees and colleagues and do what you can to keep everyone informed.

Leadership needs to interpret the state of affairs to employees. For example, holding regular team updates or sending emails detailing progress. Present these updates with a positive attitude, explaining how your reports can succeed during uncertain times.

As an employee, making the effort to communicate with colleagues is also huge. Make an effort to reach out to new colleagues, rather than resenting or resisting their presence.

Rise to New Challenges

Chances are, a changing structure at work may come with increased demands on the workers left behind. Acknowledge those challenges, to yourself and your boss and speak up if you need support.

Talk to co-workers. Colleagues can be a remarkable support structure and may have advice on how they are coping with an increased workload.

Even if the company doesn’t support you, take this as an opportunity to level up your resume.

Keep on Learning

Dedicate the time for yourself and your employees to learn new skills to prepare for the future. New skills can empower employees to transition more easily into new roles, or be prepared to find work in another organization.

In the end, we know that any type of workplace change can be challenging—and not without major growing pains.

Want to learn more about dealing with the challenges that come with organizational change management?

View KnowledgeCity’s courses below:

Managing Change Communicating Organizational Change Effective Communication
Managing Change Communicating Organizational Change Effective Communication
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