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Resistance and Communication
As much as United Parcel Services is a well-placed entity both domestically and on the international front, it has continued to hit the headlines due to negative employee relations. The Peggy Young issue culminated with the plaintiff winning the court’s decision implying that indeed its HR policy is wanting. It is a very profitable entity which seems to deem its broad-based employee structure with little regard. In an effort to realign its HR function towards implementing change vision towards staying in tune with employee needs in modern times, it has been proposed that it embarks on a radical change program to enable it to consider it employees with better integrity and dignity (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2015). This paper seeks to discuss the potential reasons for resistance within the organization and offer a workable communication plan for the proposed change initiative.
Reasons for Change Resistance
The current operating dynamics have cemented the fact that change is indeed a constant in the contemporary business environment. However, change has a very peculiar way of influencing people which in most cases results in resistance ranging from mild to overly hostile resistance (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2015). Change can therefore be never regarded as easy as most evidence indicates that may organization fail to achieve set change objectives. Another interesting issue is that senior promoters for change will in most instance blame failure ether on regular staff and middle managers for resistance to change. This is often the truth but it is important to accept that senior managers and leaders normally misjudge how much is enforceable in a given organization (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2015). This points out that these section of organizational stakeholders often fail to adequately comprehend the difficulties associated towards effective change implementation. As such, change basically entails strong people skills.
Resistance to proposed programs for change emanate from eight general reasons. Firstly, change is construed to translate to job or status loss not only among common staff members but also affecting senior and middle level managers (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2015). The second reason is that stakeholders point to non-reinforcing reward systems such that without forms of motivation, the change process is bound to experience significant setbacks. Thirdly, is that staff will always exhibit fear of the unknown; the less they understand about projected changes and the manner with which it will influence them breeds fear (Miller, 2014).
Plan to Counter Change Resistance
The HR function at UPS should examine the proposition requiring that prior to going ahead with change initiative bound to affect other stakeholders, some affects have to be critically considered (Lozano, 2013). This is in essence aimed at countering foreseeable instances of resistance to change.
Specificity of change initiative: The change initiative will work to improve employee relations and as such, will impact on the behaviors, values and attitudes of the company.
Who is affected: Proposed changes to the organizations HR policy will most certainly impact on the entire employee base from the organization’s leaders to the lowest employee (Lozano, 2013). As such, it entails impacting on the entire organizational culture.
Impact of change on employees: The change process will effectively imply that the organization has not been keen on relating with employees with dignity and integrity and as such may result to significant emotional impact on leaders as well as affected employees (Lozano, 2013).
The plan will therefore include communication, facilitation, participation, coercion, and negotiation. Educating employees will provide an opportunity to communicate change initiative as well as reasons for compelling organizational transformations (Lozano, 2013). Enabling stakeholder participation will identify resisters and encourage greater employee commitment to the entire change process. Facilitation will allow for the provision of requisite training for skills and emotional support in an effort to diffuse resistance. Negotiation will provide an avenue through which to offer incentives for positive outcomes in the change process fostering greater commitment and lesser instances of employee resistance. Coercion may not be as user friendly as desired nut it has the potential producing quick results and eliminating any remnants of resistance though it ought to be the last plan for action (Miller, 2014).
Relationship between Communication and Resistance to Change
Communication is a key component of a thriving organization and as such, the manner with which an entity values communication across the board determines its viability. For instance, it is critical to note that change resistance is basically founded on misinformation or erroneous communication (Lozano, 2013). When an employee have limited information about a work environment, he or she remains in a state of discomfort resulting in a desire to question the state of affairs. No employee would desire to identify with a workplace where little information is available. For a thriving organization such as UPS, meager information would translate to discord hence resistance. On the other hand, if communication on the change process is readily communicated and feedback channels remain functional, lower instances of resistance are more likely to be experienced (Miller, 2014).
The most appropriate communication strategies will adequately communicate change initiative information to an entity’s stakeholders as well as achieve commitment from staff. This implies that the change initiative is not exaggerated and that only realistic information is conveyed (Miller, 2014). Communication to the employee should therefore be carefully measured as divulging excessive information can be overbearing to employees such that they do not avail the desired behaviors and attitudes. Communication should therefore be communicated through the right avenues as dictated by the organizational structure to allow for targeted stakeholders to effectively perform expected roles in change implementation (van den Heuvel et al., 2013). Information should be disseminated in with great clarity to ensure that all stakeholders are privy to the initiative.
The most favorable communication in this case is transparency in an effort to eliminate possibilities of fostering mistrust as well as organizational politics amongst senior managers, the employees, and change leaders. A translucent or opaque communication strategy will most definitely nurture resistance leading to failure making transparency pivotal to a successful change initiative (Miller, 2014).
The objectives of the communication plan is to effectively appraise awareness, engagement, offer access, establish transparency and ultimately reinforce credibility (Miller, 2014). It is expected to progress for a period of eight to twelve months.
Strategic Overview:-Communication objectives in line with the change initiative
-Positioning statement as to why the organization requires proposed changes
-Ideally reach out to primary targets as well as tertiary audiences to positively influence stakeholders towards the desired outcome
-communicate desired action from targeted audiences.
Communication Platform: Will opt for a variety of print and digital media to effectively reach out to stakeholders
Messaging:-through the organization’s websites, article topics will continually be updated as well as convey daily, weekly as well as monthly change initiative themes through social media.
Key Dates:-UPS has its unique key dates which are well celebrated each year, it will be in the best interests of the entity to continuously use such occasions to avail information on current and envisaged developments on the change initiative.
Campaigns: having invested in the change’ communication strategy, the HR function will continue to progress its agenda through internal campaigns.
Success benchmarks: through baseline, intermediary and end goals benchmarks, the communication plan will work towards availing information as to the progress of the change initiative.
Alvesson, M., & Sveningsson, S. (2015). Changing organizational culture: Cultural change work in progress. London: UK Routledge.
Lozano, R. (2013). Are companies planning their organizational changes for corporate sustainability? An analysis of three case studies on resistance to change and their strategies to overcome it. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 20(5), 275-295.
Miller, K. (2014). Organizational communication: Approaches and processes. Nelson Education.
van den Heuvel, M., Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2013). Adapting to change: The value of change information and meaning-making. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(1), 11-21.