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Human Resources and negative pressures of change

Updated on September 12, 2013

New technologies and globalization bring increased competition

The HR community must remain creative and collaborative. That is a dynamic part of HR management, however qualified people need to be consulted and we have turned to a master on the subject, Cary Cooper, for the information applied in this article on the psychology of adaptability.

There are big opportunities to take advantage of, like new technologies and globalization, and businesses need to cope with the increased competition that these changes bring, on the employer as well as the employees. Organisations therefore have to be as adaptable as possible, now more important than ever before.

Under these accelerated changes the HR in charge need to address the one part which has not been emphasised sufficiently or kept abreast of, the psychological side of adaptability to the fast changes that overpower staff. HR need to assist staff to embrace and react positively to change, create a mindset to deal with it successfully and actually welcome and value it

The workforce experience change as extremely stressful

High level research done in the area of 'change' proved that more than 30% of the workforce across the board experience change as a negative pressure which caused aggregative stress. This is an area which HR management has to see as a primary concern which needs to be treated and applied as a continuum and not only confronted during times of major changes.
Management need to ensure that they create the right environment for employees to recognise imminent change, to embrace it and work pro-actively to adapt to it so the employees feel in control of their roles they have to play.
They need to be in a state of mind that enables them to focus on meeting the challenge of 'adapting' and assistance to design their own new processes, learning new skills and where necessary sacrifice by even working overtime when required. They have to feel they have the right resources and support to meet their own and employers' objectives? Irrespective of magnitude of change, HR has to allow the right balance between work and home life?

These factors are not all directly related to the challenges an adaptable organisation needs to meet, but they all certainly require to be managed well or the employees will find it impossible to focus and deliver when the going gets tough.

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Psychologists created a guide: 6 essentials of workplace well-being

These 6 Essentials include the sense of control, balanced workloads, job security and change, good work relationships, resources and communications and job conditions.

There are proven distinct links between the well-being of the workers and the resultant productivity, but just as with the preparedness for eventual change, organisations have to measure those key elements of workers' well-being progressively, not occasionally.

Example, there is a relationship between the amount of the salary of teachers and the results they achieve with their students on tests of knowledge.

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HR should not query communication, they should manage communication

Of the 6 essentials identified the most important is communication, yet it is commonplace for company management to ask in the face of change, whether the communication with the employees had been good enough during the run up. It should be an ongoing activity, the staff should be kept informed what will be required to adapt and accept and the effects that it will have on their workplace before it occurs.

Proactive action is imperative, if the human resources leaders only communicate when change is already happening the response from employees will be different, negative and even skeptical.

To enable employees to adapt they should be kept informed, empowered with foresight, always able to react and change frequently when circumstances require and that demands consistent and prepared communication.

The other five “essentials” similarly can not just be aspired to for smooth transformation, they have to be built into leaders' and managers' goals, as well as their every day business behaviors, to insure the right conditions for an agile workforce.

Successful businesses are mostly prepared and agile organizations

Where will we find better examples to put paid to the above claim, than three of the world's most successful organisations, Google, Apple and Microsoft who all offer great working conditions, benefits and a collective, supportive culture, with an in-tune HR who focus on employee well-being and never let's up as the go-between for top management structure and the sailors of the ship right through the ranks, keeping the crew prepared for demanding new ways in which employees may contribute to the success of a changing organisation, the one thing their fields continuously experience.


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