Change management is defined as a process that is outlining and “adopting corporate strategies, structures, procedures and technologies to deal with changes in external conditions and the business environment” (shrm.org). One of the major components that set the foundations for successful change management is awareness (Llopis, 2012). If an organization is aware of the business landscape, they will most likely manage to recognize any potential need for change management. For example, Estee Lauder has established a good reputation in the cosmetics industry. However, women’s need, at some point of the business’ operation, to first sample any cosmetic products before purchase, made the company change their management style and pioneered 2 marketing techniques with proven effectiveness: the gift with every purchase and the free gift (Llopis, 2012).
Workplace is rapidly changing nowadays and an important skill is to be able to manage change. However, change is not always welcomed and many businesses find their employees unwilling to participate in the changing process, raising important obstacles to business success and effective change management. Proper workplace change management is crucial to get employees back to work more quickly and more effectively than before (O’ Neil, 2012).
Workplace changes not only due to change in the nature of work, but also because of changes in the role of the workplace in the strategy of a business (O’ Neil and Wymer, 2011). Mobile technology, globalization and distributed work thanks to cloud computing are just some of the factors that have created the need to change management and workplace (O’ Neil, 2012). In order a project meets utmost success it is essential that the human side of change is properly handled (Change Management Learning Center), which is why both managers alongside workers need to be inspired “when they feel overwhelmed, to promote collaboration across organizational boundaries, or to help embrace change programs through dialogue, not dictation.”(Smet et.al, 2012).
Steve Factor, former Vice President and head of the American Express Chairman’s Innovation Fund and author of Econovation: The Red, White, and Blue Pill for Arousing Innovation, mentions in an interview that there is a marked difference in workplace operation now, compared to what used to be a decade ago that is just the tip of the iceberg, with many more changes to come (Robison, 2013).
As aforementioned, technology is a core factor that creates the need for workplace change and management change consequently. Workers used to give ample time to familiarize themselves with standardized techniques and tools and that was about it. Nowadays, not only new products enter competition and workplace with a rapid pace, but also require workers to train again on the products’ updates. Blackberries were the sole business tool for most businessmen; yet, they have been replaced by iPhones. Secretaries, who used to write down any verbal communication in the past, have switched to transcribing content from a tape recording and have reached today’s world with the need to be able to use voice recognition software (Samuels, n.d). Modern day businesses are constantly in need of workers that can learn quickly new things, and as soon as they do there is always a new thing that must be taught and learned, which is why adaptability is highly sought-after (Robison, 2013). So, the new workplace as formed in recent years must both foster collaboration and find a way to reward people with flexibility and varied set of skills (Robison, 2013).
Hiring off-site workers is a popular and growing trend that also affects workplace and leads to change. People now can work from practically everywhere, even from the comforts of their home. Technology has once again provided the necessary means to ease communication with numerous software and applications that assist in connecting businessmen with their employees and business and workers with other coworkers and the rest of the business world. People’s need to enhance their living quality has also contributed to the particular workplace change. With telecommuting, office expenses are reduced now, since businesses can now hire employees from a distance and allow them to work without relocating (Samuels, n.d).
Ever since the beginning of the 1970s, when the women’s movement has started demanding and bringing change to the workplace of their days, bringing women in the game of employment, the white male dominated workplace had to turn into a multicultural community where women also had a place (Samuels, n.d). Later on, minorities and handicapped also entered the race and workplace changed once again to adopt to the new societal needs. Management change is necessary in an all the pre-mentioned cases, since management and those in lower ranks need to consider the values and beliefs of varied groups of people (Samuels, n.d). For instance, older aged employees tend to stay loyally with a company and take retirement benefits in closer consideration than younger aged workers that are more likely to leave the business after some time and probably need many years prior their retirement.
All in all, workplace changes according to the needs of a business and a business’ management changes based on the new emerging needs of the company’s nature.
Aaron De Smet, Johanne Lavoie, and Elizabeth Schwartz Hioe, Insights and Publications: Developing better change leaders, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/developing_better_change_leaders
Society for Human Resource Management, Glossaries: HR Terms: Change Management, n.d. Retrieved from: http://www.shrm.org/TemplatesTools/Glossaries/HRTerms/Pages/c.aspx
Llopis Glen, 5 Most Effective Ways to Sell Change, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2012/11/05/5-most-effective-ways-to-sell-change/
O’Neill, M. and Wymer, T. (2011). “The Metrics of Distributed Work.” White Paper, Knoll, Inc., New York, N
O’ Neil, M., Managing Workplace Change: A People-Based Perspective, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.cfi-knoll.com/knoll-white-papers/managing-workplace-change.pdf
Samuels, D., How Has the Workplace Changed?, n.d. Retrieved from: http://work.chron.com/workplace-changed-12823.html
Robison, Wesley, What is changing our current workplace, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.psfk.com/2013/01/future-workplace-trends.html