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How to Ensure Successful Change Management for Small Businesses

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As a small business owner, you may tend to prioritize finance; however, one important thing that will ensure your business thrives is to enhance stronger workplace culture. What makes or mars a business is the type of experience customers derive, and this is largely due to the type of services employees render.

A small business has to do all the right things to survive the stiff competition in the global market, especially now that the business world is paying a lot of attention to digital transformation. You need to properly position your business to reap the expected benefits that you desire from integrating digital transformation, and that is why you need change management.

What is change management?

Change management is the all-embracing term that depicts how you prepare, support, and help teams, employees, and your organization to go through change. Where change management often is how employees and teams are impacted by changes that go on in an organization, organizational change management (OCM) refers to the totality of organizational change a business undergoes.

Change management strategy

For change management to succeed for your small business, you need to come up with a comprehensive and actionable strategy. You don’t have to embark on change just for the fun of it, you must envisage what your business, employees, and customers will gain from the change.

A change management strategy helps in removing confusion and strain on both your employees and the business finance. The purpose and clarity of your strategy help a great deal to enhance cooperation and collaboration among your employees; this ultimately will reposition your small business to have a competitive advantage.

It’s not uncommon to have employees resisting any form of change; once they have imbibed your organizational culture, they tend to view anything out of the “core values” of the business as a form of distraction and try to resist it. With a strategy that eloquently spells out the plan, the risks they have to take, and the essence of the change, they become more cooperative and put in the necessary effort that will ensure the change works.

No two changes are the same; what works for company A may not work for company B. The attributes of your small business may be completely different from another company; it becomes imperative that you must have the right focus and your unique approach.

Some changes a small business may want to embark upon include:

1. Digitalization

The COVID-19 pandemic caused dramatic changes in the way businesses operate; a lot of employees have to work remotely; the situation has warranted that new apps, new technologies, and new tools must be integrated into the system. Even before the pandemic, some businesses had been practicing remote work, but it became absolutely necessary for the survival of any business.

There is also the need to revamp legacy systems to meet customers’ demands. The attempt at the process of digitalization can cause friction among employees and this also goes with the financial resources you require to effect this, which will not be easy for any small business.

Since this has become necessary, the financial aspect can be taken care of by taking a loan from a body like the Small Business Administration (SBA) instead of going to organizations that will ask you to commit personal assets. A loan from SBA will give you the leverage you need to acquire the needed tools and apps.

There will also be the need to prepare employees for how these new changes will impact their former roles. A mindset that is adaptable to changes will go a long way to ensure there is no resistance from your employees.

2. Relocating employees to new office spaces

This may seem a subtle change, but it may come with unexpected difficulties. Sometimes, people attach some element of sentiment to where they work and probably with their colleagues; trying to make them move to a new environment can cause frictions that will affect business operations.

To avert any form of friction from your employees if you have to relocate them to new office spaces, you need to seek their cooperation and understanding. Explain to them why such a move is necessary.

Where it may be more difficult is if you are moving to an entirely new environment, then you must consider how to move your equipment and documents. You also must take into consideration how this will affect your employees in the area of productivity.

There may be the need to pay some employees some kind of incentive, such as taking up the travel fares for those who will have to pay more to get to work. You need to evaluate how the movement will affect employees who probably have children in schools.

If you carefully plan this out with the involvement of your employees, there won’t be serious issues.

3. Personnel change

It may become necessary for you to carry out a personnel change, maybe because your small business is growing bigger, or you have a cause to lay off some employees; whatever may be the cause for you to carry out personnel change, you must prepare to handle the problems that will arise from employee engagement and retention. Employees feel threatened when there are layoffs; to ensure it does not constitute too much of a difficulty to your operations, you must show genuine compassion to those that are affected.

You need to understand that those who are not affected by the layoff will not completely feel comfortable; their colleagues and friends may have to go away, and they may have the belief that such a fate may come their way one day. You may have reasons to motivate those who are not affected, for them to put in more effort.

While engaging new employees may not have the same negative impact on the morale of your workforce, it comes with some difficulties as well. The onboarding process takes some time; new employees have to adjust and learn the culture of the organization; it’s only when they fit in that you will not have friction that can sustain the growth you envisage.

Change management, especially for small businesses, may come with strains, but by involving management and employees in the different steps, a lot of issues will be quickly resolved.

Published: November 24, 2021

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