MANAGING CHANGE 4
MANAGINGCHANGE AT COLES
Changeis a crucial component of the management that it enables theinstitutions to gain a competitive advantage over others in variousindustries. The alterations in the procedures for carrying outoperations are inevitable, and any company can be driven intoextinction if it does not embrace the change (Brownand Osborne, 2012 P21). Leaderstogether with the agents of change are faced with conflictingchallenges of understanding diverse options that they can adopt foroptimum operation. Disagreements mayleadto prospective chaotic environments that may lacerate therelationships among key stakeholders.
Makingadjustments in an organization is imperative to align the operationsto the best practices triggered by both the internal and externaldeterminants. The basic approaches used by various enterprisesinclude redirections on resource utilization, staffing and resourceallocation (Brownand Osborne, 2012 P21).At times, entrepreneurs may prefer to have an organizational changethat involves making a major alteration in the management, goals, andsome operational tendencies.
Colesis an Australian company operates tens of retail stores and it isamong the largest retailers in the country. The organization consistsof supermarkets, liquor, and general merchandise. The enterprise isowned by West farmers and was founded in 1914 by G.J. Coles. Thegroup has over 165, 000 employees and it accounts for over eightypercent of the Australian supermarkets(Webster, 2015 P16).The giant firm has been under scrutiny of the media and theAustralian government for engaging a number of malpractices involvingpoor pay, frauding suppliers and engaging in unhealthy competition.The malpractices have lacerated the company’s image to the majorstakeholders (Webster,J., 201516).
Inaddition, the employees have dragged the company to the courts onvarious occasions demanding for better working conditions andimproved pay. The internal and external pressures to enact changeswithin its staff compensation schemes. Instituting an agreedintervention may not only increase the wages of permanently employedemployees, but it may also scale down the number of part-timeworkers.
Variousfactors both within the organization and in the external environmentare likely to affect the intervention involving revising the employeecompensation and a consequent reduction of the workforce(Gatenby et al., 2015 P1125).Coles` organization culture inclines towards taking advantage of theopportunities in the market. In line with this, the employees areoriented to an aggressive tendency, and this has enabled the companyto retain a big number of consumers. To benefit maximally from thepresenting opportunities, the management hires employees both onpermanent and temporary contracts.
Themove has been the cause of stagnating wages to shield the companyfrom excessive recurrent expenditures. Cole’s management isstructured to invest in changes that improve the consumer experience.The major undertakings that have been implemented in the past includeestablishing new stores, investing in a culture of serving withpersonality(Lozano, 2013 P283).The objectives have been a partial cause of low wages as themanagement strives to satisfy the customers ate reduced costs.
Competitionhas been a primary external factor that employees have used to raisethe concern on their wages. Woolworth, another giant company in thecountry, has better offers, and since Coles operates at a similarlevel, it has been under pressure to compensate the employees at themarket rates. In addition, the government agencies including theDepartment of Trade, Fair Labor Commission, and the Labor Courts havebeen consistent in their efforts to compel the company to introducebetter policies the patients.
Also,most of the organizations have not fully recovered from the economiccrisis, and Coles is not an exemption. To operate effectively, thecompany opted to employ additional staff in the new stores on atemporary basis. In 2014, the company signed a memorandum with theemployees to increase their wages progressively for four years. Whilethe company promises to honor the agreement, a significant number ofthe employees who are not part of the agreement are likely to sufferfrom retrenchment and discontinued services. In Australia, most ofthe companies in the retail business have been slow to adopt wageincrement policies owing to the economic hardships. Any move torevise the salaries upwards would force the management to reduce theworkforce.
Drawingfrom Lewin`s Model of Change Management, it is imperative to not thatthe inevitable nature of change necessitates the management to planbefore executing the process. The rationale for this is that there isthe likelihood of encountering resistance from different stakeholders(Carter, 2015 P33).Lewin proposes an examination the core of the business including thevalues, mission, and prospects.
Similarly,the change should guide the company in achieving its long-term goalof contributing to the countries growth by forming and maintainingstrong relationships with stakeholders. As Lewin suggests, theinternal values and aspirations should guide the management intriggering the desired alterations(Lozano, 2013 P284).The continued grumbling of the employees is likely to escalate andcreate a negative picture of the company among the stakeholders. Thishas a possibility of affecting the long-term projection of thecompany.
ProposedModels for enacting the Change
Implementingchange in an organization should be a systematic process thatinclines to evidence-based models (Waddellet al.,2013 P51). The rationale for this is that the adjustment introducedby the management affects different stakeholders. For example, it mayrequire the employees to adapt to new schedules to contribute to theoutlined objectives. According to Lozano(2013), lackof adequate preparation can result in resistance and lack ofownership of the proposed changes (P285). Scholars have developeddifferent frameworks that can be used in different settings toachieve the desired alterations. The complexity of the projectedchange may influence the choice of the framework.
Lewin’sModel of Change is a standard tool that is exploited in varioussettings to effectively introduce new ideas without suffering fromnumerous drawbacks. Lewin indicates that organizations engage inchanges gradually to stay relevant and to align with the practices inthe various industries (Lozano,2013 P284).The management is tasked with the mandate to stimulate growth byadopting measures that contribute to the objectives. He proposesthree core steps to achieve the desired change in any enterprise.They include change, unfreeze and refreeze. Coles can use the methodto prepare employees and other players for the intended adjustment.
Unfreezinginvolves breaking the ice on the aspects that need to change in acompany. The management and the team tasked with steering thealteration surveys the various factors that affect the organization.In doing so, they consider the impacts of the internal and externalfactors that act negatively on the operations of the organization.Cole’s management aims at contributing to the overall growth of thecountry by liaising with the stakeholders. Determining the internaland external aspects that have contributed to the currentorganizational image will be instrumental in devising a smooth pathfor making amendments.
Theemployees have cried foul over the current wages that are notconsistent with the standard offer in the industry. Engaging a bignumber of part-time employees is a major primary factor contributingto the problem. After appending the signature to the 2013-2017 salaryincrement plans, the management found it unsustainable to employadditional permanent workers (Webster,2015 P16).The short-term remedy to the in intense demand of workers was torecruit employees on a contract basis with a reduced wage scale.
Unfreezingalso involves understanding why the change needs to take place.Currently, the reputation of the company in on the verge of gettingtarnished in the management does not devise a change strategy. Thecourt battles and the increased media attention are deleterious tothe operations of the business. Moreover, the company enjoys widesupport especially due to its numerous corporate socialresponsibility activities across the country. The stature that hasbeen built over decades may drastically be besmirched. Furthermore,the prevailing economic conditions do not permit the organization tooffer high salaries to all the employees without implementation someinternal controls. These reasons give a rationale to implement thechange.
Thephase also involves garnering the support of key stakeholders througheffective communication(Cummings and Worley, 2014 P272).In Coles, revising the number of employees and the salaries willnecessitate informing the shareholders, directors, and heads ofdepartments, workers and consumers of the intention. However, it isunlikely that all the parties will be of a similar opinion. However,the goodwill of key parties in the Executive will be instrumental insupporting the change. It is worth noting that the public relies onthe convincing message to form their opinions. Since they form acritical section of the company’s stakeholders, it is critical todraft a persuasive message and pass it through the popular media.
Lewinproposes that the management should do a thorough planning,communication and observe the stakeholders reaction to the proposedamendments. In this phase, the different players are informed of thebenefits of the adjustments and prepare them for what it is on theway. It is also during this phase that the team dispels rumors byanswering questions honestly and responding to feedback from thestakeholders(Cummings and Worley, 2014 P273).The news of scaling down the workforce is likely to be received withmixed feelings. The dissenting group may spread rumors on thecompany’s unwillingness to raise the workers’ salaries.Disseminating information regularly can help in dismantling therumors before they take root in a section of the stakeholders. Atthis stage, the most imperative function of the management is toacquaint all the parties of how the changes will affect theemployees, consumers, and the general public.
Afterthe introduction of changes, it is vital to anchor them into theorganizational culture. Although the move to reduce the workforce maystrain the existing workforce in the absence of poor HR practices, itcan be habituated in the aggressive and consumer-oriented culturethat employees embrace(Fugate et al., 2012 P891).Identifying the factors that support change enables the steering teamto capitalize on them to quell the effects of the hindrances.
Reducingthe number of employees and honoring the 2013 agreement needs to besustained. The management has to devise a mechanism for distributingthe workers’ benefits over the four years to fulfill its part ofthe bargain. In addition, the workers should be allowed to givefeedback on the changes being effected and air their concerns. Acontinuous process of consultation and monitoring will result inshared success.
Impactof the Changes to the Organization and the Employees
Thewage adjustment will affect the management and the employees invarious ways. The human resource department will be under pressureto restructure the working schedules and fill the vacant positionsafter laying off some workers. The remaining staff will have to beredeployed and their responsibilities revised to ensure that theconsumers receive model services in the stores. Also, the managementmay find it strenuous to increase the salaries. However, it is worthnoting that doing so would be a fulfillment of the agreement arrivedat in 2013. Defying the contract would result in the company losingthe trust of the employees and other stakeholders.
Theintervention will have contrasting implication on the employees.According to Fugateet al. (2012), inan organization, employees combine their powers to intensify theirbargain on their needs (P890). Revising their salaries progressivelywould be good news. However, it will be disturbing to have some ofthem lose their positions. The workers are expected to raise aconcern on the expected occupational strain. In the event of reducedworkforce, the first impression that workers get is that they will beforced to perform the extra duties (P895). While this is correct tosome extent, it is noteworthy that the human resource departmentimplements new mechanisms to seal the gaps without unreasonablystretching the capacities of the remaining employees. On the otherhand, increasing their salaries will be a welcome move, and it willbe a motivating factor in the different cadres.
Mostof the changes in organizations are met with a lot of opposition forvarious reasons. The parochial self-interest that some of the workersmay have intensifies their concerns on the consequences of suchadjustments. They are likely to focus on their needs while ignoringthe implications on the organization(Benn et al., 2013 P54).For example, some of the workplace leaders may oppose the move torescue the number of employees citing the expected economicdisenfranchisement of the victims. However, they remain oblivious tothe expected effects on the company. The management targets scalingdown the number of workers to curtail the recurrent expenditures.
Inaddition, the difference in the assessment of the situation alsocontributes to opposition. The leader and the workers comprehendedthe effects of any intended change differently (Waddellet al.,2013 P132). The lack of shared objectives is a primary contributor tothe difference in understanding (Bennet al., 2013 P38).A critical recommendation to counter this form of opposition is toinform the employees of the expected changes and the effect on theirperformance. According to Waddellet al.(2013), it takes a strong internal culture for the employees to ownthe goals set by the leadership (P23). The idea converts the workersfrom salary-oriented individuals to critical elements for theevolution and success of an enterprise.
Kotter’smodel of change proposes the participation of employees in the changeprocess the best method to offset resistance. According to theframework, Reacting to their feedback on the need to lay off sometemporary workers to pave the way for the fulfillment of the wageincrement plan would reduce the chances of some influential, membersmaking unsound and biased conclusions (Mishra,2013 P542).Also, the author indicates that some employees may act against thegood will of the company due to personal issues. The problem mayexacerbate if they influence others to join them to frustrate theleadership’s intention of enacting changes. In such scenarios,employing explicit and implicit force can be a last resort method.The approach would result in the dismissal, demotion or transfer ofthe targeted workers.
Apartfrom countering the resistance from the workers, the steering teamshould also focus on stimulating support from the members of themanagement. The ADKAR model of change recommends a viable way toaddress opposition among individuals who hold influential positionsin an organization. The framework illustrates that the desire toparticipate in the process emanates from the available information onthe need to make the alterations(Cummings and Worley, 2014 P121).Coles is a rather sensitive company since it has a big number ofcritical personalities in the management including the directors,senior managers, heads of departments, supervisors and moreimportantly the pioneer family. The support of each of the playercounts, and it would be ineffective top seek the support of theemployees without putting the entire leadership in order.
Conclusively,change is an inevitable process in any industry since in enablesorganizations to stay relevant with the prevailing market conditions.The process of enacting adjustments should be systematic and welldefined to ensure that it achieves the intended objectives.Nonetheless, not all individuals in an enterprise support change.Addressing their concerns is a primary factor in ensuring the successof the proposed actions. Sharing information with the stakeholdersand convincing them on the suitability of the projected amendmentsresults in a shared picture of the intended changes. Coles’leadership should revise the staff wages and reduce the number of itstemporary staff. However, such a move would require the support ofall the stakeholders. The long-term effects of the intervention wouldbe a motivated workforce and an improved corporate image
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