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Expert: Srujana Kumar

Recently we featured Srujana Kumar in our monthly CHAT WITH EXPERT SESSION. Srujana is a training and development professional with a unique blend of training, facilitating and operational exposure for over 13 years. She has led several Change Management initiatives in various oprganizations. She answered questions from members on HOW TO MANAGE CHANGE EFFECTIVELY? Here is an excerpt from the Chat session with her:

QUESTION: What can be major forces of change in present Organizations?

ANSWER: Organizations today face a dynamic and changing environment. This in turn is requiring these organizations to adapt… Change or perish is the rallying cry among today’s managers worldwide… Major forces that are acting as stimulants for change are

  • Nature of Workforce
  • Technology
  • Economic shocks
  • Competition
  • Social trends
  • World politics

QUESTION: What are the steps required to make people work for their organizations?

ANSWER: According to me the best steps would be, Selection criteria, Performance evaluation plays in motivating and affecting behavior of employees and controlled patterns like communication and finally empowering with decision making will make the change in employees

QUESTION: How to have fully functioning people in an organization?

ANSWER: Filling functioning people, They need to be empowered not over managed , they should feel adequate. And never get the thought of diminishing of morale. Then they move and change towards country club learnship style to function well.

QUESTION: Which is more effective – Change in work force or technology or making the existing work force effective?

ANSWER: All three components are important …  Individuals always resist to change but Organizations always drive towards change … Hence … It is the people who need to be effective … By balancing there selective information process, habits, fear of unknown, security reasons etc,. … Then slowly group inertia can be removed and we spin towards the change

QUESTION: The five forces you talked about are so real. Could you please talk a little bit more about social trends and how they are impacting us?ANSWER: Social trends would be for example

  • Popularity of sport utility vehicles
  • Delayed marriages by young people
  • Incubation of gender equity etc.,
  • Teenagers employment

QUESTION: How can we keep the employees motivated and reduce attrition while a particular organization is going through a change in management?

ANSWER: It’s managing a planned change. Hence we need to consider the change agents . For example ..

  • Authority relations
  • Coordination mechanism.
  • Job  redesign or other similar structural variables

QUESTION: How to deal with employees who are resistant to change despite having several years of experience

ANSWER: This is very common at every organization… Because every employee looks for security and settlement … Hence any small change is disturbance to his settlement… Hence organizations need to have built-in mechanism to produce stability for employees… Then the selection process needs to be systematic … Training & socializing techniques reinforce. Role requirements & skills. Formalization provides Job description, rules, and procedures. Then when an individual is confronted with change. This structural inertia acts as a counterbalance to sustain stability.

QUESTION: What do we do when we have two sets of people to deal with when it comes to driving change? One, the older lot who believe in TQM, paper work processes which r powerful and on the other hand young guys who work on a click of the mouse or on what’s app. How do you bring alignment here?

ANSWER: We need the wisdom of Old and wise ness of young to package the old wine in the new bottle. We need to work on structural issues such as work specialization … Span of control and re-align and design them to integrate. As a result the change agents might need to modify the organizations structure vertical layers removed. Organization flatters … Buddy mentoring!!

QUESTION: What are the ways to keep the morale of the employees high during the restructuring process?  During these organization changes the environment tends to be a little sensitive and low. How can one balance the sentiments of the employees exiting as well build up enthusiasm in the existing group?

ANSWER: Most of the organizations have limited focus of change … As they are made up of a number of interdependent subsystems. They tends to neglect emotional quotient of human elements … For example if management decides to change the technological process without considering the human skills up gradation then people will not embrace the change .. Therefore firstly … People should be taken into consideration…they should be clearly communicated the change management process and they should be told by adopting this change … Where the organization is heading its goals and what is the role and value as a employee they would be contributing to … Post the change implementation …  The delta change that would be happen to the people/ employees if this is addressed in a positive way … Definitely people will welcome change … They need to show

QUESTION: How one could position mandatory learning interventions in large companies in a win-win flavor by using some change management techniques the tangible benefits?

ANSWER: Learning interventions is a process which needs to be planned and executed. However the components on which we need to emphasize are predominantly. Threat of expertise. Threat to established power relationships like any redistribution of decision making authority. Can be threatened of long established power relationship within organization. Hence change can be introduction of participative decision making. Or self-managed work teams are the change .Threat to established resource allocations. Most of the groups in the organizations that control sizable resources often see change as a threat. For instance change may mean a reduction in their budgets or cut in their staff size.

QUESTION: When a small organization is growing or expanding, what can be done to keep the employees/ team members motivated, inspired? What could be the best ways/processes to retain them?

ANSWER: When organizations are expanding. Employees don many hats. They perform multiple roles. And most of them enjoying doing it and working under positive pressures. So to keep them motivated is by showing the bigger picture and next re they need to perform .This is more on individual change where the focus would be on Removing there unknown fears. And assuring there security factors. To cope with the complexity. We need to program these responses

QUESTION: Experience in banking industry, so would like to know what are the critical factors in bringing about a successful change management in banks?

ANSWER: Banking sector operates on the structured environment. Hence the major factor in technology is changes usually involve the introduction of new equipment’s, platforms, tools/ process/ methods. Automation or computerizations. These competitive factors or innovations. These are bound to happen. Hence its people who need to typical change their behaviors attitudes through communication… Decision making and leadership processes … We need these people changing

QUESTION: Given the dynamic marketing situation, what is your advice to Talent Development professionals to manage Talent? How do we equip for these changes?

ANSWER: For talent acquisition… They need have strong selection criteria… Framework While selecting people.. So that post the person is on board the variance in actual and standard is minimum…

QUESTION: As talent development professionals what are the few skills that we may develop to ensure we are equipped to

ANSWER: To supplement the focus should be more on. Role identity, Role perception, Role expectations, So that we avoid at the role conflict change. A situation in which an individual is confronted by divergent role expectations!!

QUESTION: Would like to hear your thoughts on “ownership”.. Often touted word. Do you think “ownership” is an inherent thing? Or it rears its head only if people see a person advantage?  What could leaders do to kindle & maintain that sense, both at trying times & good times?

ANSWER: Sooner or later in life , we will all take our own turn being in the position we once had someone else in … These words are by Ashly Lorenzana .. I believe in them .. It says explicitly that Ownership is a personal choice .. That we make for the healthy decisions … It’s more of collective consciousness… Similarly if we see, There is an interest, we tend to take ownership. Interest can be anything is it be health/ peace/ wealth / anger etc… Which brings good results and shows positive was to us. Then we take ownership … Predominantly it’s an individual trait … Most of the times it’s inherent.

QUESTION: How do you get people to relate to the bigger picture and what is the role of organizational culture in building this big picture?

ANSWER: Organization culture … Is the pivot in building the organization and giving bigger picture to the internal as well as external employees … Because it sets roles/ decisions / hierarchy/ vision / mission … Including defining the goals .. Establishing strategy… Developing plans to coordinate activities … And determining what tasks are to be done who is to do them … How the tasks are grouped etc.,. Hence all these intangible attributes are nothing but organization culture. If executed and performed well gives a better bigger picture. It’s the fragrance and essence of the organization’s value.

QUESTION: What about the psychological factors   involved in change process and how to address them? Is it possible with L&D Professionals or we need other professionals?

ANSWER: Psychological factors most. Indians have are fear / security … It needs to be addressed in a planned manner taking into consideration Individual’s Skills/ Attitude and Knowledge… In India it’s a perception that job is equivalent to security … In ready it’s a learning process where the bell curve is assessed!! So it’s more of perception change.