The process of implementing organisational change

20 July 2022 Consultancy.uk 6 min. read

Changing teams, roles, and responsibilities allow help keep the organisational atmosphere dynamic for technology companies. However, Juras Juršėnas, Chief Operating Officer at Oxylabs, explains that it’s important to be aware and plan for proposed changes, as if implemented poorly it can break the morale of employees.

Organisations must be aware that roles and tasks can change to achieve new goals or ambitions. They must be ready to adapt because change is what moves businesses forward. As organisations grow, individuals need to grow themselves. Many employees change positions with some outgrowing their shoes and climbing up the ladder into more senior roles, while others choose to move to different departments or focus areas.

Juras Juršėnas, Chief Operating Officer at Oxylabs

Nevertheless, change is inevitable, and it should not be seen as a burden but rather an opportunity to grow and expand. By choosing to change, an organisation can evolve rather than sit still and watch another flourish. Henceforth, when implementing organisational change business leaders should follow this simple and vital process:

1) Recognise if and what kind of change is needed.

2) Open discussions should be held with teams.

3) Implement the agreed change and own the outcome.

4) Evaluate if the change resolved the problem, it was aimed at.

Why is change needed?

It’s important to recognise the need for organisational change. For instance, organisations can construct teams around products, meaning if a product grows, a larger team can be implemented.

In most cases, the need for change stems from the bottom-up. It may also come from identifying that teams may have taken on too many responsibilities, which may have impacted work rates and hindered focus.

It is important to proceed with caution when moving forward with proposed changes. Change is often a part of company culture, meaning it is tempting to see it as an obvious solution to all problems. For example, even Google, which is the ultimate example of a change-driven company, has experienced a stage where teams wouldn’t understand why certain transformations were needed.

Before jumping into any change, try and solve the problem within the current organisational structure. If it’s clear that greater changes are needed, then it is important to see how the proposed shift fits into the timeline of your organisation’s process. For example, certain changes may require a range of new hires.

How does the process work?

So, what are the stages of organisational change and how can you start planning? It’s imperative to identify the problem that needs to solve with change and reach a consensus. Does the problem sit with all parties? If this is the case, you can transition to the next stage and begin discussing possible solutions.

Mistakes are often made when people have different opinions on an initial problem but implement changes anyway. Being unaligned on problems often leads to an array of issues during implementation. Henceforth, it is strongly advised that a lot of effort is put in before taking action.

Yet, there are situations where a consensus simply cannot be reached. In these cases, it is

worth identifying the clear differences in views and aim to address the queries of all stakeholders involved.

Once you’ve agreed on the problem, start outlining specific proposals on how to resolve it.

This is the perfect time to involve the team and orchestrate open discussions to challenge the proposals, including everyone that will or may be affected by the change directly and listen to the opinions of the team. Adapt your initial approach according to the suggestions of the team if needed. Finally, move on to the decisions.

This may seem like a long and tedious process, but, in reality, steps can easily be missed if the process is rushed.

What’s the right amount of communication?

Change is not often popular and is a sensitive issue. It’s natural for one to worry if their work will be affected by change and whether it will still be enjoyable.

For example, if a developer is used to working on an array of services and now must begin concentrating on one, it may lead to doubts if the job will provide the same satisfaction.

To reduce the burden of change it’s vital to build mutual trust, which can only be achieved with open dialogue and consideration of all parties involved. It’s important to openly explain and discuss the reasons for change, the potential downsides and what can be done to address them.

There are several theories on when to approach employees about the upcoming change.

Some make the idea of change transparent, while others wait until the very last minute.

When communicating, two types of dialogue are needed. First, it’s important to be explicit on issues that come with current work and encourage open communication, allowing one to look for solutions in the context of the existing organisational structure. However, when it becomes clear that larger structural changes, like team splits, might be needed, then there is no issue to take time do some homework and think the idea through.

During that process, it is often clear that organisational change may not be the best way to solve the issues at hand and that other solutions may be required. Thus, it is not recommended to rush to tell everyone about the proposed idea of change while it’s still simply an idea. But teams should be involved as soon as you have particular proposals on how to move forward.

There should also be a common understanding that there’s constant brainstorming on how to solve particular problems in an organisation, and anyone can initiate those ideas.

How to measure success?

Organisational change is used to solve specific problems. If the problem in question is resolved, and there is no evidence of new problems arising, then the change could be seen to have been successful.

Also, when evaluating the success, one must consider how the aftermath of change fits into their main principles of low complexity and high autonomy. Did the change lead to individuals in the team being able to be more autonomous or vice versa, and did the complexity of processes increase or decrease as a result of change?