Changes are part of the business, but an organization does not change only through new processes. It changes because the people within the organization are embracing changes. Only when members of the organization make their transitions can the organization benefit from the difference they are pooling through.
The Change Curve model
The “Change Curve” model will help small business owners comprehend and take the stages of personal transition and organizational change in the business demographics.
4 phases that employees go through before adapting to changes
1. Shock and rejection
Shock and rejection are the initial reactions small business owners notice in their employees. They are responding to the challenges of the status quo. This response is labeled as inexperienced, and established employees fear new systems and procedures, and they will decline at first. They feel uncomfortable due to fear of the unknown, the fear of doing something wrong, and lack of information and experience. They feel lacking and fear failure. These circumstances, they usually see it as friction rather than an opportunity, to begin with.
What do employees need here?
Employees can experience this step multiple times. To recover from it, employees need the information to understand what’s going on in the organization, and they need to know how to get help from their fellow and administration.
This phase mainly affects those employees who have never undergone significant changes.
What is the concrete action that the organization should do?
At this point, it is the owners’ responsibility to communicate with their employees and let them know about the benefits they will adapt and gain by adapting to the new systems, personally and professionally. You have to avoid overwhelm your employees by flooding them with lots of information, or they might get confused even more.
2. Fear and Anger
This is the second step that we see in employees. When employees react to a change, they begin to express anger, concern, resentment, or anxiety. They can actively or passively resist the change. This phase could be dangerous, and if the organization does not handle it carefully, it could lead to misunderstandings.
What should the organization do?
At this point, the small business owner must handle the objections of the employees carefully. Because the response to change is personal and emotional, it is impossible to prevent it. So, the organization should try to address employee experience and resolve issues as soon as possible.
As long as employees stay at step 2 of the change curve by escaping progression, the change will fail.
It is a turning point for both the employees and the organization, as the employees no longer focus on what they have lost and have started to embrace change. They begin to explore the differences and have a real sense of what’s right and what’s not, and how to adapt accordingly.
What should the organization do?
This phase is critical – it takes time and patience for employees to learn and accept things beyond their prior knowledge and experience. Therefore, do not expect your employees to be 100% productive in this phase. Give them time so they can learn and explore without too much pressure from the administration. It will take time and requires patience to achieve this phase.
At this point, there will be a commitment from the employees in analyzing and adopting the change. They are starting to rebuild their way of working, and it is at this point, the organization begins to see the benefits of change that are implemented or imposed.
Benefits of Change
At this point, the organization can witness the benefits of committing to their employees’ well-being when they were in a phase of grieving. The change curve’s good effects are now more visible in productivity and profit, and the employees are more equipped.
The change curve is a useful model for small business owners to manage employees. Finding an employee on the change curve allows the business owner to decide how to communicate information effectively and know what kind of support they need. This helps them take the necessary action and protect both the company and as well as the employees.