The Best Ways to Avoid Tension When Implementing Organizational Change

April 20, 2023
Here’s how you, as a leader, can enact change within your organization and get your colleagues happily on board.

How many times have you received an email or attended a town hall announcement of a company change and been thrown through a loop at the surprise? 

While organizational change–structural, technological, or otherwise–is necessary to drive company growth and efficiency, those transitions need to be done carefully. If employees feel overly skeptical or uninformed about shifts made throughout the organization, they can develop greater feelings of stress and distrust.

Successful, adaptable organizations work to create a culture of acceptance that combats employee pushback before it even happens. Here’s how you, as a leader, can enact change within your organization and get your colleagues happily on board.

Engage Those Outside Leadership

Don’t limit yourself to only soliciting feedback and opinions from those in leadership positions. Cast a wider net that includes employees (and possibly non-employees, like implementation or consulting partners) from various teams that could be affected by this change. 

Once they feel heard and included in the decision-making process, you can rely on these influential team members to build confidence in the change with employees across the organization.

Give Relevant Team Members the Opportunity to Buy In

Making a decision for change within the silo of a single team and announcing it to the company after the fact can actually hurt your plan of action.

Be proactive and host discussions for relevant team members to provide feedback on proposed changes. For example, if you’re looking to implement a new SaaS solution, include not only the team that would be using that program each day in the selection and testing process, but also the team that would be implementing it, maintaining it, and connecting it to other systems in the organization. 

For smaller organizations, this Venn diagram may be a circle, but for larger enterprises, there may be many different parties involved. This allows a broader group to buy into this organizational change, enabling a more comfortable transition overall.

Connect Current and Latent Change

Look for ways you can tie current organizational changes to issues that have yet to be solved. If you can show that present efforts are helping to address struggles that have previously been set on the back burner, you can reframe these actions as ones that are vital to overall company improvements.

Opt for Small, Segmented Changes

Even when the changes your organization is making are positive and helpful, too much too soon can be overwhelming for employees and cause tension. Instead of making large, company-wide changes, release these shifts in small bursts that allow for more comfortable adjustment. Remember, quick wins can be key.

For example, if you’re looking to digitize a large team’s processes, break up the implementation into manageable steps that happen over a longer period of time. Start with one use case, then grow from there. While you may initially find it more ideal to ramp up productivity with this transition sooner rather than later, giving your employees more time to acclimate to the changes will serve you better in the long run.

Implementing Change Within Your Organization

The way your company approaches organizational change can make or break your employees’ willingness to accept it. While there are sure to be bits of opposition, taking a proactive approach to make team members feel like their opinions matter within those decisions can ease tension and make for a more seamless transition.

As your organization moves forward and implements technological changes to meet business demand, ensure you’re working to give your team a voice in your process.

Also, leverage the power of those around you. If you’re implementing a new tech solution, ask your technology partner for advice as well. They’ll likely have been advised on the roll outs for many of their customers and can offer valuable insights to improve the transformation process. You can even ask those in your network about their past experiences implementing change and see what you can bring to your own organization.

There will always be avenues that help you realize one main truth: you’re not alone in your transformation journey. 

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