Article (April-2020)


Gain people acceptability for change

Abhishek Sharma

Designation : -   Manager-HR

Organization : -  JK Lakshmi Cement Limited, New Delhi


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Many of the times we observe in today's complex competitive environment any change when initiated takes long way to accommodate faith, getting people aligned and in its institutionalisation with productive approach. Leaders now these days therefore have to be very agile in their approach to anticipate the process requirement in line with the new business model to create people acceptability towards it and promote collaborative work approach to ensure desired objectives are.

In view of above, if we particularly talk about merger process as a change if initiated, many of the existing processes continuously evolve as different types of culture and systems get merged to create an exceptionally well performing entity. During implementation of merger process, people from diversified backgrounds are expected to come forward and work together in an unknown complex working environment over new processes, system and culture. It is therefore, imperative to mention here, if implementation process of merger is not taken care appropriately, may create chaos in the new entity and thereby may have complete interruption in achievement of desired objectives. In past also, many cases have seen where merger initiated for having fruitful objectives but even after having best resources along with people practices the objectives defeated this is merely because of not able to address people concern appropriately in the new system and thereby not getting their acceptability and enabling their confidence into new system. In view of above gaining acceptability, confidence and developing optimistic outlook of the people considered to be the priority. While doing so, the most challenging task remains to be managing insecurity, anxiety, unease, daunt in people with respect to the new culture and system. Therefore, it becomes utmost priority to create acceptability and confidence in people and make them receptive towards change principally for merger.

The following are the measures, if adopted appropriately, may help having opportunity to bring people acceptability and getting their confidence along with alignment in new culture and system and help meet up the ultimate objectives :

To Provide complete clarity on the content and context : When people of diversified background are put into the new system or culture, at the initial level they feel confused in understanding why they all have been put into this system and particularly for  the processes policies to be complied with. In absence of this, people do not get confidence on the system and feel insecure. Therefore, to gain people confidence and acceptability towards new system it is imperative that they should properly be well informed about the essentiality and objectives of the new system and advantages they would have on its adoption. There should be organised awareness sessions by the senior leadership team members on particular interval across all the level to provide clarity on the new system and the processes that everyone is expected to follow particularly how correct compliances will help them to grow in the new system and culture. Clarity on these aspects would surely work like a milestone achieved in the direction of success.

Understand what is not working out well : The old adage says that bad news does not travel up. During merger of business unit, there will be areas organisation needs to understand or know which are not working out well as there would certainly be something that the organisation needs to learn to perform in better way. The leadership team should organise open conversation sessions with team members of diversified background across all the levels and function by different ways such as one on one meeting, small focus group discussion, Voice of Employees (VOE) and if required carry out satisfaction or engagement survey on an interval of every one year till the processes gets streamlined. From each method, list out the areas which are required primary attention and subsequently find out what are the common pain areas falling under method which required immediate action to overcome. Upon completion, make of Cross Functional Team namely "True Value Creator" of diversified background people and assign them to ensure effective implementation of all those action plans and evaluate the response of the people in the organisation after certain period of time and discuss the same with leadership team to complete further action required to be implemented in it.

Promote a culture to take prudent risk : In the modern time there are the people who look at the things the way they are, and ask why? Most of youngsters dream of things that never were, and ask why not? Moreover, in earlier days if anyone wish to take risk in the organisation, the first question expected to answer was, why is this required? But the scenario has changed now these days, therefore, under Merger, culture should be cascaded down the line to answer, Why Not? and to establish opportunities for pilots, prototypes and experimentation. These are the integral part of R&D. There are sometimes dozens of experiments that do not get results and that to, without the failures we could not find out the successes. Therefore, leaders to allow all team members to take prudent risks, take initiatives to formulate appropriate actions in line with business requirement and recognise and reward the best performance to set the example and motivate others to give their best in the endeavours of the organisation.

Look for boundary to spanning partnerships : As works becomes more complex, it takes teams and cross boundary collaborations to achieve desired objectives/results. It becomes therefore, imperative to replace functional silos with formal and informal teams that allow for the rapid flow of information and decision making around a business environment, particularly in carrying out operational and other procedural compliances. To create better acceptability and confidence among team members the shared services teams should be created for carrying out the common functions to create better people experience in the system and culture.

Above measures when used in concert with each other, create culture shifts that increase people acceptability and confidence that actually needed to ensure smooth transition of merger process implementation and may have fulfilment of desired objectives.