Managing the impact of organisational change on employees

The uncertainty of change often creates stress and anxiety for employees

With disruptive technologies and sluggish global economic growth dampening the prospects of many companies worldwide, organisations are having to adapt to a new reality and that means they will have to change. More often than not, however, the process of implementing organisational change puts very little focus on the impact that changes have on the ability of employees to cope with the change and continue to deliver excellent quality of work.


Improperly managed, organisational change can create fear among the ranks, which impacts job satisfaction, performance and productivity. Workers could lose confidence, fearing a loss of job stability. They may also fear that changes will increase their workload or that they will not be capable of learning how to use new technology. Even great employees may resist organisational change. Competent staff members who are good at what they do and feel they have a handle on everything related to their job may feel threatened by the perceived loss of control that change can bring about.


Depending on what the organisational change entails, some employees might feel that they will be required to do more with less or to perform more work for a smaller amount of pay. This can have a crippling impact on morale.  When change involves restructuring, the process can have a particularly adverse effect on the organisational culture and overall morale. Some employees might respond positively, choosing to work harder in order to prove their worth to management. Others will feel betrayed by the company and start looking for another job. Those that remain, whether they stay voluntarily or because they could not find employment elsewhere, are often resentful. That is why it is important when embarking on any major organisational change, to identify people who might be potential stumbling blocks. It is also important to make note of the things will affect employees directly - whether it is the introduction of a new performance evaluation method or changes to job descriptions – and provide adequate support for employees during the transition.


The most important thing to do when implementing organisational change is to keep employees in the loop. Listen to any concerns they might have about the changes and try to make them understand the reasoning behind the need for change. Because, when workers are given the opportunity to voice their concerns and provide feedback on changes, they are more likely to accept and participate in the change management process, ensuring the change takes place in a productive and successful manner.