Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Change initiatives, by their very nature, generate some form of conflict. Some conflicts may be a natural expression of resistance to new circumstances that take people out of their comfort zone. Other conflicts arise when employees feel alienated, threatened, or unsupported in what they are being asked to do. In some situations, the conflict may become so serious that it poses a larger threat, as stakeholders compete for positions or even plot to sabotage the entire change initiative.
- What can HR leaders do to identify and address potential conflicts before they occur?
- How can HR leaders support and encourage employees to push forward with change, even if it may lead to a loss or change of their own jobs?
- In merger situations, what can be done to minimize tensions between old competitors, and get people aligned with the new vision and mission?
Post your initial response by Wednesday, midnight of your time zone, and reply to at least 2 of your classmates’ initial posts by Sunday, midnight of your time zone.
Hello Professor Bodam and Classmates,
- Experienced HR leaders who have been working to build a culture of truth, trust, and honest dialogue are able to surface an issue and face it head on (Welch, 2005). HR professionals must be particularly active and sensitive in anticipating where conflicts are mostly to occur in order to minimize it (Kotter, 2012).
- HR faces many challenges during times of acquisition and mergers. HR leaders must identify and communicate the reasons for the M&A to employees, form a M&A team and choose a M&A leader. The team will assess the corporate cultures of the two companies and begin to make decisions of who stays and who goes. Although it’s never an easy tasks most successful mergers are the ones where the leadership of both companies have been involved in upfront planning that focuses on the requirements for success, defining the team needed to achieve them and how they would intersect. Transparency about the new vision and consistent communication with employees should be a major part of the planning. When employees see that HR is upfront about the process, they may feel more inclined to be on board with the changes that are about to occur. Once the organizational design and structure are defined it should be clear to HR leaders who fits into the new vision and who does not. When I worked for the utility company there was one HR manager who made the decision to take the early retirement package offered and I believe that helped her to be encouraging to others when it came time to make their decisions on how to move forward. The company worked the change initiative in stages leaving employees enough time to apply for new positions which was highly recommended, or to decide on taking the severance package and leave the company.
- The key to minimizing tensions between old companies is for executives to demonstrate commitment to the vision. Employees must be able to witness positive behaviors by key executives. In other words, there must be no inconsistencies between what is said and what is done. If key executives lose the trust of employees on either side, there will be a problem. In summary there must be upfront planning with leaders from both sides. A well- planned integration with cohesive culture as the focus; constant communication and commitment to the transition of both words and actions, and organizational structure defined by what is best for the customer will go a long way toward positioning the new organization for success (Fondrevay, 2018).
JWI556-Leading Change by Putting People First-Week-9-Lecture-notes
Jennifer J. Fondrevay, (May 21, 2018). Change Management: After a Merger, Don’t Let “Us Vs. Them” Thinking Ruin the Company. Harvard Business Review
Hello Dr. Bodam and class,
What can HR leaders do to identify and address potential conflicts before they occur?
There are several steps HR leaders can take in these situations. Two from this week’s lecture notes that I find to be very effective are as follows (1):
· Being aware of the most common types of conflicts that surface during change initiatives will help keep you from being blindsided.
· Taking preemptive actions based on early warning signals makes it a lot easier to manage a potential conflict rather than fix a problem that has escalated into an all-out battle.
By taking these steps you are not only identifying potential conflicts, but actively taking steps to get ahead of the curve before they happen. Ultimately, there are always going to be mishaps and conflicts in business, but the true mark of an HR professional is how they prepare and react when the rubber needs to hit the road.
How can HR leaders support and encourage employees to push forward with change, even if it may lead to a loss or change of their own jobs?
There are a lot of things that you can do, including calling out the potential of others, making failure a learning process, focusing on effort not just skills, and actively working against complacency (2). The contingency of losing your job or having it changed always exist in business. One of the most important aspects of HR is being able to drive change while simultaneously having employees overcome those fears. In companies where that fear is prevalent and dominating there is ultimately going to be a stall in the efficiency, productivity, and growth of the company. This down to the road ultimately leads to failure.
In merger situations, what can be done to minimize tensions between old competitors, and get people aligned with the new vision and mission?
One of the most effective ways to minimize tensions between old competitors is to reinforce the idea of “our company” versus “their company”. The “us” versus “them” mentality can make an integration extremely difficult to navigate and pull off effectively if not resolved (3). Executives are responsible for crafting that vision and laying the groundwork for pulling everyone together as one team, but I feel like the real work here is done by the mid-level management. The mid-level management are going to be the ones with the boots on the ground and are going to have the best opportunity to minimize the tensions and foster a culture of togetherness.
1. Week 9 Lecture Notes.