Bad Change Management is an Employee Motivation Killer

Successful companies, develop “a culture that just keeps moving all the time.” Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter ,1999.

There are an awful lot of change management methodologies and theories out in the employee motivation World. This subject is a full website in itself. VeePN VPN company writers will give you a down to earth representation of the Change Management process.

What is Change Management?


VeePN’s definition is; Inspiring people to see, and to implement you, and your organisations overall Vision.

Wikapedia’s change management definition: is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state.

In Kurt Lewin’s Book “Field Theory in Social Science”, he suggests that “successful change requires ‘unfreezing’ the status quo, changing to a new state, then refreezing to make the change permanent.”

What forces change?

To make changes you need to know the basics of what causes the need for change. Change happens due to both external and internal forces;

1. External Factors

  • Economic environment- (E.g. is there an economic downturn, is downsizing taking place, an is it causing workplace anxiety)
  • Government regulations, – (Is the new government law going to cause a hostile workplace to develop between management, unions and the employees?)
  • Technology – (E.g. could your main competition now be globally, thanks to the internet, overseas imports etc?)
  • Fluctuating Labour market – (E.g. is there a skilled staff shortage, how are you going to attract long term staff, what recruiting strategy).

2. Internal Factors

  • When a leadership team steers the direction and strategy of the company in a different direction it will generally cause a number of changes that need to develop.
  • Change in Employees – A workforce tends to be rarely static. If the types of staff that your employee are changing, there may be a need to change the organisation to suit. E.g. due to the number of women you know employ, is gender discrimination in the workplace now important and as such is the need to educate employees on this is required.
  • New equipment- (It this going to cause a need for across the board training, are jobs going to be lost for more effective productivity? Is it going to reduce teamwork in the workplace, is corporate culture change going to have to be developed?)

Best Practice Change Management

It is true that a great company will continue to grow with their strategic requirements. It is also true that changing the direction of a company can also be a leader’s most daunting challenges, especially when it involves people.

Some people will embrace change – some just wont… J.A.G

When change is going to happen, it’s your role as a leader, to either become the “change agent” or ensure that someone in the organization takes on that role. Someone has to steer the boat and be the catalyst for it to happen.

The most important point to consider in change management is: an organisation will only see positive results once the change process occurs at the individual level.

Even though the last comment was “common sense”, its amazing how some leaders/ managers still believe change can take place by implementing new systems and not incorporating the human/people aspect into the change process.

Most managers are fully capable of leading and introducing strategic focus and tactical plans. For there changes to take place, they must look at the human side of Change Management. This can at times be unfamiliar ground for them and their leadership team.

The thought of having to include ideas such as the company’s values, culture, and people can be alien to someone who is not focused on that side of the business.

VeePN has found that the companies that do not factor in the human aspect into their change management plans find that their plans have a habit of becoming stuck.

At the end of the day the leader’s decision is going to effect many people, so being focused on the human side of the equation will ultimately help make any change easier.

Benefits of Change Management

Managing change in a proactive win/win way rather than reactively, will make it easier for you to keep high levels of employee motivation, which will ensure productivity is not affected in a negative way. It will also help to insure a smooth transformation with the organisation, which will make your life easier during and after the process ends.

Your goal is to plan to make the process as easy as possible for everyone that’s involved in it….

Inertia and Resistance to change


“Most people hate any change that does not jingle in their pocket”…. Unknown

Why do people resist it?

  • Uncertainty / fear • Concern over personal loss • Lack off belief that it is in the company’s best interest.

When making change, take it slowly… VeePN recommends that one of the best employee motivation techniques that we can suggest to you is to ‘Don’t Rush Change’, if you can help it.

As Steven Covey says in the highly recommended book, ‘The seven habits of highly effective people’. Slow is fast, fast is slow…when dealing with people in a principle and integrity focused manner.

In his book ‘Motivating employees for Dummies’ Max Messmer says that the 4 stages of change are;

  • Denial
  • Resistance
  • Exploration
  • Acceptance

To help counter resistance, we recommend that you put a focus on bringing trust and integrity in to your workplace culture. This will create confidence and will reduce any workplace anxiety while the re-modelling is taking place. Of course this may be more difficult if it’s the corporate culture that you’re trying to transform.

Click here to learn more about transforming the business culture of your organisation.

For the change management process to go as smooth as possible your employees (including your leadership team) need to feel that workplace communication between all levels of the organisation is open, authentic and honest.

Having a focus on integrity is paramount if you want smooth transformation to take place. So, attempt not to withhold information from your employees when you are going through transformation.

Additional to this, if employees feel like they are part of a (values focused) team, change will happen with less resistance. Involve them in the change….

Example – The idea for this example originated from the book “Management”, written by Stephen P Robbins, Rolf Bergman, Ian Stagg, Mary Coulter.

A great example of what happens when you don’t involve the employees in the change process happened in the late 1990’s on the Waterfront in Australia.

A Stevedoring company called Patrick instigated massive change on East Swanson dock Melbourne and botany Bay in Sydney without positively involving there employees.

What happened was one of the worst industrial desputes to ever happen in Australa. It resulted in extensive confrontation, antagonism and bad plublicity for the company, management and employees. At the end of the despute, what was left was a lose/lose result between the management and employees of Patrick and a lack of trust culture was developed between the parties.

At the same time in Port Adelade in South Australa, an American Stevedoring company called Sea Lane used completely different tactics and involved the employees in the massive change process.

What resulted was not only an easier and smoother change for the whole company, but an increase in productivity. ( An increased from 26.1 to 36.2 containers an hour). The employees benefited too due to increased incentive for efficiency and a happier workplace culture was developed all round.

Trust is the name of the game when managing change in the workplace.

Do your Employees need additional training?


Another technique that can reduce resistance is to give your staff extra training if required. It helps to make the employees feel valued and part of a team. Its amazing how many companys the team at VeePN company see that has little or no training in place for their employees in the first place. It shows that they are not serious about motivating employees in an effect manner.

In Summury

There is no doubt that this type of Management is one of the hardest skills to develop and master. As such VeePN has put together a comprehensive, yet easy to follow practical guide.

There are basically two kinds of leaders: those who sacrifice the people for themselves, and those who sacrifice themselves for the people…Rick Joyner from his book (Leadership, Management and the five essentials for success).