Most often the basic considerations for change are efficiency and effectiveness or results of the operation of the organization. Rarely do the people in the organization are given importance in the planned change. If ever, it is more of the new job description, but far from what the staff thought will be the effect on their condition. As a result, resistance in the change occurs even when we thought the change concept is very ideal for the organization.
In this context, assessing how the staff feel towards the plan is an activity that must be done before the start of any change activity. This will provide the management with a “feel” of how the staff view the whole change initiative. Information from this exercise can be used to enable the management to design a program that will respond to resistance from the staff.
One of the tools I found effective is the ADKAR that stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement.
1. Awareness determines the staff’s level of information on what the change is all about, its objectives and its effects on the staff and the output of the organization. Low level of awareness may later translate to resistance and non-participation.
2. Desire refers to the interest of the staff to take part in the change. High level of desire means high level of participation in the initiative. Low desire will mean resistance and non-participation.
3. Knowledge refers to the information about the new processes and procedures resulting from the change. Adoption by the staff of the new knowledge required is the main issue under this parameter.
4. Ability is the skills required by the staff to cope with the changes. Acquiring new skills, the cost involved, the time required and the effect on the compensation will be the main issues related to this parameter.
5. Finally, Reinforcement is the policy framework that will ensure sustainability of direction and the change initiative.
Covering all these parameters and generating information from the ADKAR tool will allow the organization to address specific issues that may be brought out in the process of implementation. Addressing the issues will lessen the resistance and provide the management with inputs on how to make the change initiative be accepted by the whole organization.
JAY P. SUPETRAN is a development practitioner based in the Philippines working with donor agencies and non-government organizations. Visit his blog at http://www.kalakalan.blogspot.com