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Crowdstaffing featured as Rising Star and Premium Usability HR platform in 2019

Crowdstaffing has earned the prestigious 2019 Rising Star & Premium Usability Awards from FinancesOnline, a popular B2B software review platform. This recognition is given out annually to products[...]

May 13, 2019

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Managing Change in an Era of Digital Disruption and Exponential Growth

In the business world, Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods was big news. On the first day of the acquisition, Amazon honored its promise of lowering prices across a variety of items, including beef, organic eggs and produce. The popular grocery chain will undoubtedly experience a number of other significant changes under the purview of the online retail giant. With its groundbreaking advances in employing analytics and big data to drive sales and operations, Amazon stands poised to disrupt the supermarket space, with Whole Foods at the epicenter. The culture and practices of grocery stores has changed little in decades. The transformations Amazon plans to implement will affect how the workforce communicates with customers and vendors, prices items, provides service, measures productivity and more. These changes are taking place more frequently in older industries, so it’s an excellent time to look at the importance of change management in an era of exponential organizational growth.

Exponential Shifts Bring Exponential Change

The exponential progress of the digital age has ushered in an era of incredible disruption. The status quo no longer ensures security or longevity. Obsolescence is a persistent threat to every business right now. What makes this present shift unique is that the emerging paradigm signals a convergence of digital and physical experiences. Rigid structures can no longer accommodate the elaborate interactions that will occur between technologies, stakeholders and talent categories in a given workplace.

These breakthroughs have led to fresh outlooks on running businesses, including models that are flexible, agile, mobile and design-centric. For all that, we can’t discount the importance of managing the changes that impact an existing employment culture.

Writing for Forbes, Professors Eric Anderson and Florian Zettelmeyer of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University discussed the situation at Whole Foods: “Amazon manages its online retail site in a way fundamentally different from how most retail supermarkets operate. For example, at Amazon the customer is a central unit of analysis, but in many supermarkets the products are the focus. Many retailers employ sophisticated category management practices, but they are far less involved with sophisticated customer management programs.”

”It would not surprise us if Amazon shook up Whole Foods stores in dramatic ways,” the professors added. “In the Amazon-Whole Foods universe, expect the variety of products within each store to shrink but the online selection to increase. Expect stores to reallocate some square footage to local delivery, further enhancing Amazon’s tremendous supply chain and delivery system. Expect the customer rather than the category to become the core focus. In sum, expect Amazon to slowly migrate away from both what is sold and how it is sold, and toward its customers.”

Success in the situations springs from the unification of cooperation and collaboration. Yet, to prevent disruption, optimize operational efficiencies and ease all stakeholders into the transition, a formal change management practice can make a world a difference.

Managing Change

Challenges can arise during any stage of a project, whether it’s the introduction of a new service offering, parent company or entirely different way of transacting business. One of the most important lessons learned is to avoid unnecessary pitfalls, thereby eliminating challenges that could become roadblocks.

Communications across all levels of the team, which can include staffing suppliers and the contingent workforce, must be carried out in a manner that prevents disruption to the daily workflow. A successful transition requires a thorough understanding of potential roadblocks, having resources who can execute thoughtfully, and forging a collaborative partnership with stakeholders.

To foster widespread program adoption, ensure that communications leaders are engaged. This is crucial for preventing lags in the implementation due to communication protocols, approvals or other factors. When staff are not personally informed of change, managing that change becomes a barrier to a successful deployment. Leaders overseeing the change must maintain open communications and receive support from advocates who can promote the program’s adoption throughout their organizations.

Benefits of Managing Change at an Organizational Level

One of the biggest advantages of managing change is that it establishes a conceptual framework for people, processes and the enterprise. It’s a support mechanism to help everyone affected understand the change, its effects, its benefits and the reasons for embracing it.

  • When change is planned and managed, bolstered by collaboration and cooperation, its benefits are uncovered before the process even begins. This gives everyone the opportunity to explore and comprehend the change, motivating them to participate.
  • Change management helps align all the parties involved.
  • When change is formalized as a process, business leaders can respond faster to requests. They can also better assess the overall impact of the change to anticipate and prevent obstacles.
  • Through proactive communications, cooperation and collaboration, the change can be implemented without disrupting or degrading the daily operations of the existing program.
  • Organizational efficiencies can improve because the concerns of the stakeholders have already been acknowledged and incorporated into the plan before any actions are taken.
  • The time needed to introduce the change decreases substantially. More importantly, the potential for success soars.
  • Performance increases among all stakeholders because they feel supported and understand the process about to occur.
  • Formal planning decreases the risks associated with change.
  • From a financial perspective, change management helps contain costs upfront and increases the return on investment.
  • Change management is also a continuous improvement effort, allowing the business to develop new best practices, study lessons learned, launch leadership development initiatives, improve team performance, bolster relationships across all groups in the program, and more.

Advantages of Change Management at the Individual Level

Establishing a formal process for managing change helps support a smooth transition from the familiar to the new, preserving morale, generating excitement, maintaining performance and enhancing the image of the company.

    • Change management hides nothing, and in its visibility brings support and understanding to individuals about their concerns with the change.
    • Change management lays the groundwork for effective, ongoing communications strategies.
    • A well-fashioned process promotes the ideal perception of the change to internal workers, contingent talent and even the organization’s customers. In this manner, it greatly reduces any resistance to the change.
    • Including everyone in discussions of the change, as well as in the process itself, strengthens morale, cooperation, collaboration, communication, productivity and the quality of work.
    • Through a carefully planned and articulated approach to upcoming change, a company can mitigate stress and anxiety before the process begins, encouraging loyalty to the program and making individuals eager for the outcome.
    • Change management focuses on positive experiences. It emphasizes opportunities and progress rather than discord or unfamiliar aspects.

Developing a Change Plan

An effective and systemic process of observation, analysis, reporting and execution defines a seamless change methodology. Here are some best practices for creating a change management methodology.

Method

  • Successful change management requires acceptance from all stakeholders.
  • People accept change better when peers provide leadership during the change.
  • As part of the change management program, leaders should continually seek opportunities to involve relevant stakeholders and to transition ongoing activities to these professionals or teams.
  • Because change is individual as well as organizational in nature, leaders should take great care to ensure that all stakeholders transition smoothly through the phases of change: awareness, understanding, involvement and ownership.

Deliverables

  • Design the sponsorship model
  • Conduct stakeholder impact analysis
  • Plan communications
  • Deliver training schedules
  • Implement change

Critical Success Factors

  • Organizational buy-in, leadership support from clients and supplier partners
  • Comprehensive planning
  • Consistent, clear and timely communications
  • Thorough training

A formal change management process ensures that every member of the business understands and supports the change. It’s the final building block that brings cooperation and collaboration together. And this support is what makes change possible, driving innovation, competitive advantages, progress and new opportunities for growth.

Sunil Bagai
Sunil Bagai
Sunil is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, thought leader and influencer who is transforming the way companies think about and acquire talent. Blending vision, technology and business skills honed in the most innovative corporate environments, he has launched a new model for recruitment called Crowdstaffing which is being tapped successfully top global brands. Sunil is passionate about building a company that provides value to the complete staffing ecosystem including clients, candidates and recruiters.
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