Reorganisation and Co.. Changes – Now what?
The significance of reorganisation and an example of a support format
Alongside personality and family, work has existential significance. Massive turning points and disruptions in the workplace can sometimes lead to damage to a person’s satisfaction and fundamental motivation which is very difficult to repair. They can cause long-lasting destruction to enthusiasm for the job or the profession.
Fusion and reorganisation as major disruption
Fusions and reorganisations are major disruption, from which employees often find it difficult to recover, if they manage it at all. The reason for this is that the employees’ identity has not completely followed the changed reality of the organisation.
Consequences and symptoms of poor change management
The difference between the “old” and “new” identity leads to the employees mentally resigning and being demotivated for a lasting period of time. They suspect enemies among the new employees, constantly feel disadvantaged and pass this feeling on to colleagues. These employees compare the situation they chose themselves at some point with the current situation and prove every day that the change was a bad decision. It doesn’t matter that the greatest damage is coming from themselves.
An example of “changing identity” from a different world:
You buy a house in a quiet area. Even the neighbours are very quiet and you are happy. The contract says nothing about a “quiet” house, but in your head, that’s what you’ve bought! You now get new neighbours who are very loud. Suddenly your house isn’t the one you were used to any more. You could sell up and move. You could listen out for every noise, get annoyed about everything and create your own hell on earth. Or: You “say goodbye” to the old house and decide to live in the new house with the new neighbours.
This change in identity is at the heart of the matter!
The more you believe you have a right to the quiet house, the more difficult it will become to choose a good alternative.
Alongside the loss of the old “identity”, a further stress factor arises:
no longer knowing who makes the decisions, and how.
no longer knowing who makes the decisions, and how.
This double distress comes from a lack of information about what is fixed and what is still open for discussion.
Do I have to do something? How do I have to do it? What are the rules of this change? How do I prevent myself from losing out so that I have to reproach myself later? Who do I have to influence?
Rumours, assumptions and fears are highly contagious – it needs just a few people to start it off.
Support during change processes
In order to help staff adapt to changed conditions and to prevent demotivation and “mental resignation”, here is an example of a format for supporting change processes professionally:
The three-step process for this change format is:
1. Transparency, 2. Letting go, 3. Openness to new things
You should provide as stable a psycho-social framework for the change as possible, using
1. security and cognitive control and open communication of the decision-making processes which have taken place and which are planned,
2. cognitive and emotional acceptance of the change through “letting go” of the old working situation and
3. openness for new things, conflict prevention and a shared starting point.
In this, the content of the decisions is of lesser importance.
Professional support of change processes
Step 1: Transparency
Support from the management when developing plans for communication and decision-making. What is decided when, and how? What is fixed, what remains open and for how long? Where are there gaps?
Support in the creation of the communication plan. How often are the employees to be informed, and how?
Support in the creation and implementation of the new decision-making routines. Raising consciousness and realising the new rules on responsibility and decision-making (power dynamics).
Step 2: Letting go
Workshops with a maximum of ten participants, with as homogenous a working background as possible.
1. What happens psychologically in the case of change? Change always means initial loss! Above all, loss of security and control over the situation, loss of “territory” and status and loss of the knowledge of how decisions are made.
2. Cognitive acceptance
Analysis of the working parameters:
What is already fixed? What is still open? Scenarios?
3. Emotional acceptance,
Preparation using work questions such as:
· What do we have to let go of?
· In what sense do we feel cheated in our life and career plans?
· Can I imagine letting go of my old professional identity and taking on a new one?
· How will I decide?
· What could go wrong?
· What opportunities are there?
Step 3: Openness to new things
Large group event, new start.
In terms of the rituals which humanity has developed for support during socio-psychological changes, this part corresponds to support for a wedding:
· New balances of power are made clear.
· New relationships created.
· Using the event for activation: Something new and important is happening. Nothing will stay the way it was.
· Giving insight to the people behind the processes, goals and organisation plans.
· The people themselves are put on centre stage.
· Shall we make the best of the new situation?
Many small and interchanging working groups alongside the large group experience. Offering frameworks to allow people to get to know each other and for mutual appraisal.
Outdoor elements can be excellent support for the goals.