Managing Change in XYZ Company: Job Redesign
The recent global economic crisis and other related external environment problems have made a big impact on businesses around the world. Many business entities were forced to close down and many had no choice but to restructure their workforce and streamline their operations. This paper tackles how a medium-size company coped with these challenges by introducing job redesign strategies in order to improve performance and to cut down on cost. The focus of this paper is on the change management process and strategies employed by the company.
XYZ (name of the company withheld) is a medium size Business Process Outsourcing company catering to off-shore clients. The company handles back office processes such as technical and customer support, finance and accounting. As a result of the financial crisis, the company experienced profit losses and many of its clients are withdrawing their outsourcing contracts. Because of this, the company was forced to lay off 100 employees in 2008. Now the company only has 125 employees. In order to continue the company’s cost saving strategy and at the same time increase the company’s performance, the management has decided to introduce job redesign. The aim of the job redesign is to develop the employees so as to make them more flexible and to enable them to handle different tasks. Through job redesign the company aims to improve performance and at the same time motivate employees by improving their jobs.
Significant Organizational Change
Downsizing has left the company with significantly decreased workforce. Downsizing had a big impact on the employees’ morale and motivation. It has been found through various studies that work attitudes and behaviors of employees are affected by organizational change. One organizational change that have severe impact in employee behaviors is downsizing or workforce restructuring which results in employees feeling insecure about their jobs and viewing the company with suspicion. These behaviors and attitudes have a toll on the company’s performance and productivity. The management is aware of the current situation of the company’s workforce and believes that the development of the workforce is the solution for its current problem. Because of this, the company decided to restructure the jobs of the employees. Job restructuring is also seen as a motivating tool for the employees. Job redesign is seen as a means to increase employee motivation since it has the potential to be a means of improving job quality and to make job responsibilities and tasks more meaningful for the employees (Ugboro, 2006).
The organizational change that will be the focus of this report is job redesign, The intention of the company’s management team for introducing this change was to make jobs more exciting and challenging at the same time for the employees. Through job redesign, the management hopes to align the capabilities of the employees with the new structure of the company and its new goals and strategies (Schippman 1999). Since the job roles and functions that existed in the company were aligned to the previous objectives of the company prior the workforce restructuring efforts, the management thought that it was about time to review the existi9ng job roles and responsibilities. The aim for the company job restructuring effort was to effectively connect the desires of the employees for more meaningful and challenging workplace environment with the performance goals of the company. The aim of the company is to enable its current employees, through job redesign, to successfully fulfill their current job roles and responsibilities and be competent to handle other tasks y (Sims 2002a).
The effectiveness of job redesign as a tool in improving performance can be achieved according to Katzell and Yankelovich (1975) when:
The changes are intensive so as to provide a significant change in job content and the job roles and work responsibilities of the employees. It will also be more effective if the employees have control over their work; the tasks are diverse and meaningful while at the same time challenging. Encouraging employees to be responsible for their work and performance will also be beneficial. The changes in jobs within the company are aligned with the HR policies and practices. This means that the HR department needs to take an active role in ensuring that the new attitudes and behaviors are rewarded and the company’s HR policies and practices support the job restructuring goals.
Key Management Objectives for Job Redesign
The company’s workforce restructuring efforts resulted in changes in tasks, which in turn led to the need for the HR department to restructure jobs. In order to achieve this, the HR department conducted job analysis based on the new objectives and strategies of the company. Job analysis is done in order to identify what a particular job in the company entail and how it can be performed. Job analysis is very important in the job restructuring process since it will serve as the foundation for the decisions that the company will take especially those that are related to jobs such as the compensation package that is appropriate for a particular job. It will also help in identifying the performance measures that will be used in appraising employees as well as the factors that will be measured. The job redesign efforts are made up of different activities. These are:
· Job Rotation – through job rotation, the employees will be given opportunities to learn other jobs by letting them take part in the operation of other departments. The employees are also given opportunities to observe other employees and departments in operation. Employees are trained to be able to perform other tasks or to swap places with other workers, thereby creating a learning environment.
· Enlargement of Jobs (Horizontal) – this activity involves the allocations of more tasks to a station. These means that multi-tasking will be encouraged, thereby increasing the level of difficulty of jobs, making jobs more challenging. Job enlargement also serves as an opportunity for employees to learn new skills and enrich their careers.
· Enlargement of Jobs (Vertical) – this activity is also called job enrichment. Through job enrichment, employees are given more responsibilities in performing his job roles. By giving the employees more responsibility, the company is promoting employee empowerment and self-esteem. This can also make the employee feel important and trusted by the company. As a result, the employee will become more motivated since he or she has a big influence on how his or her job is done, when it is done and where.
Tools in Identifying Central Issues
Perhaps the company’s major strength is its One of the strengths of the company is its broad experience when it comes to serving and dealing with offshore clients. The company also has a talented workforce with wide experience in BPO. The company also has technological capabilities when it comes to serving its clients.
One weakness of the company is its size: because the company has reduced the number of its employees, it may not be able to serve new clients.
Now that the global economy is improving, the management is hoping that it will attract its former client back and attract new clients.
The threat of competition is becoming a major issue for the company since the BPO Industry is becoming a sunshine industry and many companies are grabbing the given opportunities. Another threat is the intensifying competition among BPO firms for employees. High workforce mobility is also a threat since many people working in the BPO industry do not stay long in one company. The challenge is for the company to retain its employees.
Analysis of the Driving Forces and Restraining Forces
One popular tool in analyzing the driving forces and restraining forces that affect a change effort is Lewin’s model called the Force Field Analysis. This is a popular tool because it is very simple and easy to use. The decisions makers only need to identify which factors drive the change and which factors are hindering the change from happening. The Force Field analysis is an important aid in decision making and diagnosing the possible problems and challenges that will arise because of the change effort. Driving Forces
One of the driving forces for change is the workforce restructuring that has taken place in the company. Because of the workforce restructuring, many employees were laid off, leaving the surviving employees to handle the jobs that are left. To strengthen the company and make it capable of delivering what are required by the clients, the management needs to make sure that the current employees are capable of fulfilling their new roles. Because of workforce restructuring, the job responsibilities and job roles of every employee changed. The company needs to align the job roles and responsibilities of the employees to the company’s new internal business setting. Another driving factor is the intensifying demands of the employees for training and development. Through job redesign and job enrichment, the employees are given opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge and abilities. Customer demands is also a driving force since many clients are looking for highly flexible BPO firms to outsource their processes to.
One significant challenge for the company which has a very big potential to derail the change effort is the resistance of the employees. Since the previous change effort has devastating results for the employees, they regard the job restructuring effort with suspicions and there was general unrest among the employees. The success of the job redesign effort relied on how the employees will accept it. There was also a fear that the change process will result in disruption.
Change is constant. As the company moves forward it needs to restructure and redesign its processes, policies, strategies and objectives. Leading and managing change can be challenging for management, employees, and even for suppliers and customers. Therefore, effective change management plays a critical role in the success of the job redesign effort.
Evaluation of the Change Process Management
The company employed Kotter’s (1996) Eight-Stage process of change.
1. Establish a sense of urgency – the most important strategy for this stage of the change process is to motivate people to participate in the change process. This was done by making the people in the company realize how big the problem is and how it can affect them. The management made sure to eliminate complacency so as to prompt the people into action. The management appealed to the self-interests of the people by clearly explaining how the change process will benefit them.
2. Create a powerful guiding coalition – major renewal programs often start with just one or two people (Conger et al, 1999). This is what happened in the company wherein change started at the top to bottom until all the people in the company were taking part in the process. The management realized that major change is impossible unless the head of the organization is an active supporter. In the case of the company, the General Manager together with business heads came together and developed a shared commitment to improved performance and increased personnel knowledge, skills and abilities through job redesign. The General Manager made sure that the guiding coalition is composed of people in the company who are powerful in terms of titles, information and expertise, reputations, and relationships.
3. Create a vision – successful transformations rests on a picture of the future that is relatively easy to communicate and appeals to customers, stockholders, and employees. A vision helps clarify the direction in which an organization needs to move. The vision functions in many different ways: it helps spark motivation, it helps keep all the projects and changes aligned, it provides a filter to evaluate how the organization is doing, and it provides a rationale for the changes the organization will have to weather. The management knew how important a shared vision is for the success of the change process. Without a sensible vision, a transformation effort can easily dissolve into a list of confusing and incompatible projects that can take the organization in the wrong direction. Considerable time and efforts were put in creating a vision and crafting a plan for making this vision a reality. The management also ensured that this vision was understood and shared by the people.
4. Communicate the vision – Communication was the key in this phase. In order to effectively communicate the vision to the people, the management made use of the company bulletins, internal communication system and company newsletters. The management also held meetings in order to get the reaction of the employees.
5. Empower others to act on the vision – this entails several different actions. Including allowing the people in the company to start living out the new ways and make changes in their areas of involvement. The management allocated budget money to the new initiative. Time was allotted for people in the company to understand and share their experiences with the new initiative. The employees were trained in order to fulfill their new job roles and responsibilities. The employees were encouraged to take initiative in the achievement of the company’s new objectives.
6. Plan for and create short-term wins – Real transformation takes time, and a renewal effort risks losing momentum if there are no short-term goals to meet and celebrate. In order to keep the momentum, the management actively planned and achieved some short-term gains which people will be able to see and celebrate. This provided proof that the people’s efforts are working, and added to the motivation to keep the effort going.
7. Consolidate improvements and keep the momentum for change moving – Instead of declaring victory, the management used the credibility afforded by short-term wins to tackle even bigger problems. They went after systems and structures that are not consistent with the transformation vision and have not been confronted before. They paid great attention to who is promoted, who is hired, and how people are developed.
8. Anchor new approaches – two factors are particularly important in institutionalizing change in corporate culture. The first is a conscious attempt to show people how the new approaches, behaviors, and attitudes have helped improve performance, The second factor is taking sufficient time to make sure that the next generation of top management really does personify the new approach.
Dealing with Resistance
One of the very first steps that the management took in dealing with resistance is to identify and to classify the types of reactions that the employees are showing. There are basically three types of people during change based on their reactions: These are:
· Supportive – this type of people support the change process and sometimes they are the ones who initiates the change. They are aware of the environment and they can identify when there is a need for change. These people find ways to make work more easier for the people in the organization.
· Neutral – this type of people do not display resistance to change, in fact, they seem to accept change but they are not committed to it, This type of people are hesitant to voice out their opinions but often show that they do not support the change. While their behavior and attitude are not destructive for the change process they often complain about the problems that arise because of change.
· Resistant – this type of people are the ones to look out for. They are actively seeking faults and try to discourage other people from supporting the change process. This type of people hinders the change process by resisting and sabotaging.
There are several ways by which the organization dealt with resistance to the job restructuring process. Among these are:
1. Educating and Communicating with the People – it was very evident that the change process will result in problems such as misunderstandings. The management realized that in order to overcome resistance to change, the people, first and foremost, need to understand what the change effort was all about. Educating the people before the change occurred was an important strategy for the management. In doing this, the management made use of the following tools and activities:
· Bulletin Boards
· Departmental Meetings
· Audiovisual Presentations
Education and communication was a very good strategy especially in dealing with resistance that resulted from inadequate and inaccurate information.
2. Encouraging Participation and Involvement – the management found out that one of the reasons why employees resist change is because they feel that they do not have any say about the change process. They resist change because they do not feel that they are part of the change process. Because of this, the management decided to employ the following strategies:
· Suggestion Boxes
The management realized that in order to the employees to be committed to the change process they must actively participate in it. Through consultation, brainstorming and suggestion boxes, the employees felt that they are part of the change process and their opinions and suggestions were valued.
3. Facilitating and Supporting – being supportive is another way of dealing with resistance. To express management’s support, the employees were given training and career development opportunities. This kind of strategy is beneficial when the employees are afraid and anxious of the change process.
4. Negotiating and Agreeing – the management also overcame resistance by offering incentives to those people who resisted the change effort.
The company’s change effort was fueled by the changes both in the internal and external business environments. Among the external business environment factors that influenced the decision to change is the world-wide economic crash and the changes in customer demands and requirements. Internal factors that influenced the decision to change included the change of the workforce structure and the demand of the employees for training and development.
In order to determine the needs of the company, the top management conducted intensive researching and planning. The success of the change effort lied in effective planning. The change effort trickled down from the top to the bottom. Because it has top management support, the appropriate resources were used and communication was easier. The top management analyzed the current condition of the company through SWOT analysis and the driving and restraining factors to change. By determining these factors, the change leaders were able to plan for solving the problems. The company employed Kotter’s 8 Step for Change.
The HR department has a very big role to play in every organizational change effort since every change effort in the company will affect its human resources. The HR department needs to deal with all the employee-related issues and has a primary role in dealing with resistance to change. In order to overcome employee resistance and to motivate the employees, the HR department needs to take the following strategies:
1. Build Trust – trust is the best foundation for the change effort. Employees will support and cooperate in the change effort if they trust the company’s leaders and management. One way of building trust is trough communication and actively involving the employees. 2. Ensure that the Lines of Communication are Always Open – communication is very critical ingredients in the success of the change effort since most resistance to change are founded on misinformation. It is important that the employees understand the details of the change effort, what results are expected and what the reasons behind it are.
3. Employee Involvement – involvement results in better understanding and cooperation. If the employees are involved in the change process starting its planning stage, there is a greater possibility that they will support and be excited about it. Employees will find it hard to resist change, when they know that they took part in the planning of that change. This is founded on the belief that an individual will not oppose a plan or activity which he or she took part in.
4. Providing Rewards to Employees - employees who receive rewards from supporting and participating in the change process will view the change process as beneficial to them. If the company has a reward scheme for employees that contribute to the success of the change effort, then the employees will be encouraged to take part in the process. 5. Ensuring that the Changes are Achievable and Measurable – the people need to see what is happening with the process. It is important for the management to report the developments and milestones in the change effort. The changes that are occurring in the organizations must be visible to the employees and they must see the developments. 6. Empathize – change is always challenging to the organization as a whole. It is challenging for the employees since most of the time, they are the ones who faced the biggest problems. It is important for the management to understand the situation of the employees and support them. Understanding the problems encountered by the employees during change will guide the management in making decision in the succeeding changes.
Conger, J A, et al (eds.) 1999, The leader’s change handbook: An essential guide to setting direction and taking action, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
Kotter, J P 1996, Leading change, Harvard Business School, Boston.
Ugboro, I O 2006, “Organizational commitment, job redesign, employee empowerment and intent to quit among survivors of restructuring and downsizing”, Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management. Vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 232+.
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