Phases in Transition – Part 2

Continued from the article Phases in Transition – Part 1 where we looked at the pre-transition and change phases, the following article will discuss the importance of the Integration phase an organization will go through when dealing with a transition.

Phase 3: Integration
During integration, the change will be actualized and employees will be directly impacted. This phase can sometimes be described as chaotic, potentially involving movement of people, products, and practises. Employees may demonstrate fear about jobs security and fear whether they will be laid off or relocated as a result of organizational restructuring. There may be resistance to the change. The transition team needs to identify potential blockers to the change, and they need to reinforce, through communication, the strategic goals that motivated the change.

The following are some of the issues that will be addressed in this phase:

  • Creation of a new organizational structure
  • Identification and retention of key talent
  • Roles and responsibilities of key individuals
  • Releasing individuals least equipped to contribute
  • Compensation and reward packages
  • Motivating employees
  • Continued managing the change process
  • Decisions on new human resources policies.
  • Intellectual property

Decisions on staffing and staffing integration need to be carefully deliberated. HR should be well-prepared to deal with any negativity among employees as a result of the change. Foremost in the minds of employees during and after the change is job security. Key staff should understand what their roles are throughout the process, and understand specific rewards for achieving success. It should be made clear that any rewards are quantifiable. For example, if certain goals are achieved within the specified timeline, than they should be rewarded.

Productivity can be expected to be slow at this stage as employees deal with restructuring and the loss of co-workers / friends who are let go. If the mandate of the changed organization is to retain only the best talent in order to grow and increase productivity, then those individuals least equipped to contribute should be let go. The change management process formed during the pre-transition phase should be used to deal with problems such as employee stress, anger, or depression. HR can offer counselling to employees who need help.

Because of organizational restructuring, some employees may be shuffled around the organization, moved on to new departments, placed in a different team, or lose their co-workers and friends in a lay-off. Some employees experience feelings similar to those of other major life events/losses such as grief, denial or disbelief; discomfort or anger; behavioural justification or bargaining; sadness; and finally adjustment or acceptance of the change1.

Some employees may not have experienced organizational change before. Others may have come from a different social culture and have experienced different business practices. Open and honest communication from management is crucial at the integration phase. At no other phase is communication as important. If communication is not handled properly during the integration stage, there may be a mass exodus of key employees. It is very likely that the change will fail. It is important to identify employees who are key contributors to the success of the new company and involve them in decision-making.

Stay logged on to BioTalent Canada for the final phases in transition.

1 Significant change events affect some employees in the way that loss does. The Kubler-Ross model describing the stages of grieving is used to describe the processes of change.