Organizational change has been in the news a lot lately, from new CEOs at Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo to the CIA director’s recent announcement that the agency is considering major restructuring.
These organizational changes shouldn’t just be another headline; they should act as valuable lessons and case studies. We should all be following these changes to see how they pan out and how leaders communicate to their workforce.
We can learn a lot from organizations that have already done all the hard work and made all the mistakes for us. To get you started, here are three successful examples of change management and what the companies did right (make sure to take notes!).
Marissa Mayer becomes Yahoo’s new CEO
Mayer’s transition has improved Yahoo’s business from almost every angle. Stocks have increased and quarterly earnings have improved. But, more importantly, employees are embracing their new leader. Under Mayer’s leadership, employees who had previously left Yahoo were coming back, and she has said Yahoo’s workplace standing and employee belief in the company has improved.
What she got right: Mayer placed a lot of energy on managing talent in the company and getting employees excited about working at Yahoo. In 2013, she said there had been at least 560 employee-focused initiatives implemented to bolster morale, including a new program designed to encourage employees to test products. As a new leader, Mayer understood the need to make sure her employees were happy and felt valued.
California State University implements major IT system changes
California State University (CSU) recently made a huge IT system change at its main campus, which also affected the 23 other satellite campuses and thousands of employees, staff, and students who had to learn a new way of doing things.
To make this change happen smoothly, the IT department instituted an automatic change management system, so one person could make upgrades that would automatically change everything else.
What they got right: The school redefined IT employees’ roles, clearly explaining who can use what system and what changes they can make in their designated areas. Articulating employees’ new responsibilities minimized confusion and issues. When the new process was introduced, CSU knew the importance of frequent communication and clarification so all employees were on the same page.
British Airways restructures its entire organization
Back in 1981, British Airways brought on a new chairperson who noticed that the company was operating very inefficiently and wasting valuable resources. To increase profits, he decided to restructure the entire organization by reducing its workforce.
What they got right: Before the chairperson began announcing layoffs, he explained his reasons for the restructuring to the entire company to prepare them for the upcoming change. Without his transparency, British Airways could have experienced employee backlash and negative press around all the layoffs. But, the chairperson always communicated honestly and frequently to manage the change.
Learn from these successful examples of organizational change so you are prepared when the time comes: Put your employees first and redefine roles during a system or process change. And, your new mantra should be “communicate, communicate, communicate.”
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