Change Management: Employee Transitions

Taking on a new system or initiative isn’t always an easy transition. Without employee buy-in, the project may risk not getting off the ground at all. But understanding the cycle of emotions that employees experience will help you craft a communication plan to ease the implementation process.

The Reason
Change is common in the business world, but that doesn’t mean employees embrace it with open arms. Implementing new systems and improved software help your business run smoothly, so why is there so much friction among employees during the implantation process?

For one, it’s a natural reaction to question the change – things work fine as they are, why do I need to learn something different? Another factor is an individual’s emotional intelligence and adaptability. Some people adapt more easily than others and are more welcoming of change. If you learn how to understand the emotional cycle of your employees, you’ll be able to break down the wall of resistance so that future implementations go smoother.

The Cycle
There are eight stages of the cycle (see Figure 1 from Managing Organizational Change in Operational Change Initiatives).

figure 1. change curve

The “curve” starts at normal production levels and dips as morale gets lower. Here’s a list of each of the stages explained:

Pre-Initiative: Employees are unaware of the changes and are used to the status quo.
Denial: Employees reject the change because they don’t believe it will happen based on past failures.
Anger, Pessimism, Despair: Employees experience negative emotions toward the project. They’re irritated about learning a new process that they didn’t request. In turn, their work productivity takes a downward turn.
Testing: Employee productivity improves when they get hands-on experience with the new system or software. They become more comfortable with the change.
Acceptance: Employees are finished training and accept their new roles.
Post-Initiative Success: Employees are fully trained and operate at a higher level than before the change occurred.

Communication is important in any company, but it’s especially key for successful change management.

The Plan
Once you understand the emotional cycle you can create a communication plan based on the pros and cons of human emotion. The plan allows you to assess each audience: how early do they have to be engaged, how often do they have to be engaged after the Pre-Initiative stage, and what medium to engage them in. (See Template 1 from Managing Organizational Change in Operational Change Initiatives for a guide.)

template 1. communication plan

In the beginning stages of the implementation, it’s important to have open and honest conversations with your team to ensure everyone understands the scope, timeline, and benefits of the project. Then you’ll be able to determine how often you need to communicate with each team member during the implementation.

How does your company deal with new implementations? Do you have a communication plan in place?

Written by Dr. Raef Lawson, CMA, CPA, CFP, CFA
Follow me on Twitter @RaefLawson


Related Articles:

Managing Organizational Change in Operational Change Initiatives – IMA
Change Management Best Practices Guide – Queensland Government

Study NOW: Breaking Through Procrastination

“Stop putting it off.” “The exam date isn’t going to move, I have to start studying now.” “The books aren’t going to read themselves.” These are some common sayings you can use to motivate yourself to start studying for the big exam coming up. But, whether you’re a student working toward an A+ or a professional studying to earn a certification, telling yourself to study might not be motivational enough. Here are some ways I got through studying for the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam that might also work for you.

1. Make a checklist.Lao - quote - DW
Write down your goals in the order in which you want to accomplish them. Your first goal might be to read and take notes from chapter 3 of your textbook. Your next goal, say, for the following week would be to read chapter 4. Setting small goals in a relatively short amount of time will help you progress and feel accomplished. It’s like what Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

2. Reward yourself.
After you complete each small goal, reward yourself by doing something you like but have been putting off, like taking a hike or going for a run. Not only will it relax you, but it will de-stress your mind for the moment.

3. Picture success.
There’s nothing more motivating than having a clear vision of your end goal. It can be a tangible object that symbolizes your goal, like an empty frame awaiting your certificate, or an intangible one, like the increase in salary you may receive after earning a certification or college degree.*

4. Hold yourself accountable.
When I studied for the CMA exam, I set deadlines for myself and made a checklist. That way I was able to keep track of my progress and hold myself accountable for my success. I also involved other people in my journey – my family was very supportive, even though my daughter was a baby at the time, and my boss didn’t mind me studying during my lunch break.

5. Follow your passion.
Remind yourself why you chose the field of accounting. One reason I’m sure is the job opportunities that this field offers, but hopefully you also chose accounting because you find it interesting. Studying can be tough, but you don’t have to be an accounting nerd to enjoy working on a challenging accounting problem. If you don’t cram and you pace yourself, you might actually find studying a rewarding experience!

iStock_000014804702_Large - balance6. Maintain work/life balance.
Don’t avoid the most important things, and don’t make other things more important. Earning the CMA credential was important, but family was always my number one priority

7. Guard against constructive procrastination.
Essentially, don’t wait for the perfect conditions. You don’t have to paint the room or wash the dishes to get into the right mind-set. Someone I knew in college had to write a paper but couldn’t write it until he had the perfect desk. He found the perfect desk, but it was too late to hand in the paper.

The Time to Start Is Now
Studying doesn’t have to be tiresome or boring. If you do a little bit at a time and plan your schedule, you will eventually reach your goal. And don’t forget: Other people out there are just like you. So if you’re struggling and need a push, find a face-to-face study group that might be able to help you along the way.

How do you stay passionate about something you aren’t passionate about anymore?
Have you ever procrastinated on a project at work? How did you get through it?

Written by Dennis Whitney, CMA, CFM, CAE
Follow me on twitter: @IMA_DWhitney


Related Articles

Tips for Studying for the CMA or CPA While Working – Accounting Web
How to Stay Motivated and Accomplish Anything – Forbes

How IR Affects Small Business

The International Integrated Reporting Framework was released by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) in December 2013. Since then, companies around the world have been working to implement the Framework to more cohesively and efficiently report on their ability to creat value over the short, medium and long term. So how does that impact small businesses within the larger picture? I asked Brad Monterio, managing director of Colcomgroup and vice chair of IMA’s Technology Solutions & Practices Committee, about Integrated Reporting (<IR>) and what small business owners should expect for the future.

LDM: What can <IR> do for small businesses?Quotes-03-02-15
BM: <IR> benefits businesses of all sizes. As popularity grows for <IR> around the world, a common misperception is that it’s only for the largest companies or publicly traded companies. The purpose behind <IR> is to provide a way to tell a company’s unique story to stakeholders; link its business strategy to its business model; and report how it will create value over the short, medium, and long term.

LDM: Are there any downfalls?
BM: As companies become more familiar with the <IR> Framework from the IIRC, there will be less of a learning curve for them. <IR> is an evolved way of looking at not only how the company reports information to stakeholders but how it operates internally. This manifests through a culture of integrated thinking where the areas of the business work more collaboratively toward its goals, which is a shift in dynamic for many small businesses. The shift takes time to adjust to.

LDM: Small businesses have fewer staff and smaller revenue pools than large companies. Could that potentially hold them back from integrating <IR>?
BM: <IR> isn’t intended to increase the reporting burden; in fact, quite the opposite. It’s designed to help improve and streamline the disclosure process (to make reporting better, not bigger). Leveraging existing disclosure vehicles, such as financial statements and annual reports, to communicate <IR> information helps smaller businesses. A culture of integrated thinking will help businesses collaborate internally and be more efficient with their resources as well as how they share information, reducing redundancies.

LDM: Why is <IR> important for small businesses?
BM: <IR> has many benefits and outcomes, including keeping pace with or surpassing competitors. But those aren’t the only reasons to undertake a transition to <IR>. Linking the company strategy and business model to how a company uses all of its resources in that business model Quote2-03-02-15helps a company more clearly understand what’s happening inside its business. This means they can more accurately portray what’s happening to stakeholders outside their business and communicate their value more effectively.

LDM: What else do small-business leaders need to know about <IR>?
BM: <IR> isn’t sustainability reporting as you might see with GRI or CSR reports. Sustainability reports look at both financial and nonfinancial information but don’t typically go as far as an integrated report in linking strategy and business model to future economic value. Additionally, actual accounting standards for sustainability topics in the market require companies to report on material nonfinancial matters. This helps streamline the reports and bring comparability to this content in all types of reports.

If you’re an IMA member, you can participate in a webinar that Brad is moderating on March 10 called “Integrated Reporting and Integrated Thinking: Which Comes First?” – which is part of IMA’s new Tech Talk series. If you aren’t a member, read his article “Integrated Reporting: A Chat with the Experts” from Strategic Finance. You can also read more on the Technology Solutions & Practices Committee’s LinkUp community.

Written by Linda Devonish-Mills, CMA, CPA, CAE


Related Articles

Leading Practices in Integrated ReportingStrategic Finance
International Integrated Reporting Framework – IIRC