As you’re evaluating enterprise software, you may have found that the employees on your software selection team are having reservations about the project. Naturally, you’re wondering if other employees will respond similarly when you announce the project at large. This is a valid question and one that you should start investigating as soon as possible.
Today, we’re sharing some of the most common employee concerns during organizational change so you can start thinking about the change management activities you may want to pursue.
6 Employee Concerns During Organizational Change
1. Feeling Reticent About the Whole Idea of Change
Sometimes, there isn’t a definite reason why employees resist change. They simply lack the traits required to adapt easily to circumstances as they shift.
When this happens, the resistance can spread like wildfire and decrease employee engagement, which affects organizational productivity.
Developing a change management strategy can help you address these concerns as they arise. Key elements of a strong change management approach include:
- Visible sponsorship and support from executives
- A strong communication plan to keep employees engaged
- Regular information sessions to keep workers up-to-date
- Well-informed department leads to answer questions and guide employees
2. Questioning the Timing of the Change
Any time you introduce a new ERP system, SCM system, or another type of technology, employees may wonder why it must be done now (instead of maybe a year from now).
They might see the urgency as a sign that there’s another unwelcome change or restructuring happening soon. Some workers might feel the change is happening too suddenly or is directed right at them.
Reassure your workforce that projects like these are often spurred by changes in the external marketplace that affect the organization. Examples of these external drivers can include:
- Competitors that are growing faster than your business
- Competitors that can offer lower prices to your customers
- New business endeavors or opportunities for growth
- A loss of market share that requires a new approach
Explain that by acting proactively, you’re helping to preserve the longevity and profitability of the business.
3. Contemplating How the Change Affects Them
Naturally, employees may want to know what the bigger-picture organizational change will mean for their individual roles. They might wonder if they will have to learn:
- New ways of doing work
- A new reporting structure
- A new set of systems or tools
- New services or products
- New workflows and business processes
If the change is small, it might not affect them at all. If it’s major, they may be required to make some of the adjustments listed above. With more radical changes, they may even be required to switch roles or move to a new department.
To the extent that you can, try to prepare them for what lies ahead. Explain what will occur and listen intently to their feedback. Ambiguity can breed resistance, especially if direct supervisors aren’t forthcoming.
Change Management Case Study
The client recognized their need for more comprehensive change management, so they asked us to fill in the gaps. We developed a robust communication plan to supplement the vendor’s communication approach.
4. Wondering if They Have a Choice
Organizational change can make employees feel like they have no say in the matter. This is especially the case when business leaders fail to communicate updates to keep team members in the loop.
The key to navigating a successful change is helping employees understand how important their role is. Explain that they are still a vital part of the team and that their participation will be critical, especially during these next transitional steps.
When they receive this degree of trust and autonomy, the likelihood of resistance decreases. If they feel like the rug is being pulled out from under them and they have no recourse, defiance can follow.
5. Doubting the Benefits
If you’re planning to restructure how your teams do their jobs, make sure you explain why you’re doing so. If employees don’t understand what they can gain from the new technology, they may be hesitant to use it.
This is the same logic you’ll employ as you seek stakeholder buy-in, in general. For anyone to support the change, they need to clearly see how it will help.
Outline current pain points and explain how the new system can reduce or eliminate them. To understand where pain points are happening, you can perform business process mapping. Then, conduct business process reengineering to determine how the new tech can solve those problems and help you reach your business goals.
6. Fearing the Learning Curve
New software can be difficult to learn, especially for employees who are used to your legacy systems. They may be nervous about whether the new system will be easy to navigate and how big the learning curve will be.
This is where end-user training can be incredibly valuable. Long before you go live with the new solution, conduct in-depth training sessions.
When employees feel prepared to embrace a new system, the idea of venturing into unknown territory feels less threatening.
Next Steps: Assess Your Change Management Approach
By addressing employee concerns during organizational change, you send a clear message that you value (and need) the input and support of your workforce. After all, without trained and capable employees actively using your system, it could end up as shelfware, no matter how sophisticated it is.
These are only a few questions that might be on employees’ minds during this sensitive time. By developing a change management plan, you can anticipate the majority of the questions that your employees will ask.
Our change management consultants can help you optimize every step of your OCM approach, so reach out to us below for a free consultation.