The psychological contract was first identified in the 60’s by Chris Argyris and it can be argued that currently there has never been a more critical time to understand the concept due to the implications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on organisations. The psychological contract…
“Change initiatives are time-sensitive: The longer it takes, the greater the detrimental effect”
Author: Rachele Verdini
I am an MSc Occupational Psychology student with a passion for organisational change, leadership, and positive psychology. Being fascinated by the world of work, I am eager to continuously learn and develop to be able to engage in professional evidence-based practice, helping employers and employees have their ideal work experience.
Now more than ever, change is a matter of urgency. In a fast-developing world, keeping up with technology and the latest advancements has been the challenge that most companies would face to remain in the market. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, adapting to new ways has become the challenge that EVERY company faces. Finding ways to effectively introduce change into the workplace is key to stay in the game, and it all starts with one question: Are you ready for change?
The question might not be as simple as it sounds. In my experience supporting the work of a consultancy company dedicated to helping businesses face organisational change, I have learnt that the question at hand comes with multiple facets and differing answers. As my project involved investigating the research around change readiness, I will use the five W’s to lead you to the outcome of my quest, hoping it will be of help to whoever is getting ready for change.
WHAT is change readiness?
As shown by academic research, change readiness is the result of both beliefs and positive emotions about change, which drive behaviours that support the introduction of change initiatives as well as having other benefits on job performance and satisfaction [1,2].
Who needs to be change-ready?
Change initiatives tend to affect the whole organisation more or less directly, which means that the individual employee as much as their teams and the overall climate will need to be change-ready .
WHY measure it?
Measuring change readiness within a company can help identify how far they are in the journey from change resistance to successful change implementation. In other words, it would provide us with a way to track all the different answers to our big question, revealing how the individual, the teams and the overall organisation are feeling about change, and how likely the company is to benefit from the change and not drown trying to make it happen.
WHERE and WHEN is this all worth it?
Here is where consultancy companies, such as the one I had the pleasure to support, come into play. Measuring change readiness is key but only when the measures used are effective and the results are used sensibly. Assessment tools can be developed to allow employees to tick off their answers in a time-saving questionnaire format. However, just as introducing change in an organisation is a journey, so is the development of a powerful survey tool. And what my experience taught me is that the journey is more likely to have a happy ending if it starts with research evidence. The principles of evidence-based practice provide the perfect roadmap, which starts with the use of comprehensive reviews of the research literature, meeting practitioner knowledge and organisational data along the way, progressing through validity and reliability tests, hence ending with a focused survey that measures what it should measure and does it consistently [4,5].
The Finish Line
As we said, change initiatives are extremely time-sensitive and the longer it takes for change to settle in, the more likely it is to have a detrimental effect on the overall business. A consultancy that offers a research-based assessment tool and practical expertise on organisational change can help minimise the pitfalls of the process and the time taken for the change to be fully embedded in the new routines. One last recommendation should be made around the uniqueness of every business and the importance of tailoring the journey to change readiness to the specific needs of the company. This said…
Are you ready for change?
- Bouckenooghe, D. (2010). Positioning change recipients’ attitudes toward change in the organizational change literature. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 46(4), 500-531.
- Armenakis, A. A., & Harris, S. G. (2002). Crafting a change message to create transformational readiness. Journal of organizational change management.
- Rafferty, A. E., Jimmieson, N. L., & Armenakis, A. A. (2013). Change readiness: A multilevel review. Journal of management, 39(1), 110-135.
- Rousseau, D. M., & Barends, E. G. (2011). Becoming an evidence‐based HR practitioner. Human Resource Management Journal, 21(3), 221-235.
- Rust, J., & Golombok, S. (2014). Modern psychometrics: The science of psychological assessment. Routledge.