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How Organisations Can Support Their Employees Cope With The Only Constant: Change!

The only constant in life is change which comes in several shapes and forms.

By Saima Arfeen

Saima is Oakwood's Associate Consultant and works in our Associate Team
More from Saima >>

Whether change is minimal or monumental, sporadic or strategic, it is always subject to some element of resistance by organisational stakeholders. The onus lies with the leadership team to communicate the vision and rationale and inculcate change as a tool which promotes growth, both at an organizational and individual level, and one also which simultaneously promotes a win-win situation for all parties involved. As idealistic a solution this may seem, there are some stakeholders who are hesitant towards change.


It is a natural phenomenon for change to occur in our personal and professional lives which facilitates growth and for remaining relevant in an ever changing world. In a professional context, all organisations undergo change, and have to adhere to basic guidelines to attain a proposed change both successfully and effectively, all of which require strategy, patience, sincerity and time. The change process is comprised of several components which all come and work together in tandem to ensure that the change being proposed or implemented is successful; it is but imperative that sufficient time is allocated to each stage as doing otherwise will result in less than desirable results or possibly even undesirable ones!


Leaders have an Achilles heel during a period of change where the focus is on the goal or the actual change and its associated objectives, or in other words, the end state rather than how to get there, i.e., a lack of an end to end strategy. While apparent ‘’strategies’’ and end state goals are focused on, the ‘’soft side’’ or the human element is quite often ignored. This is a major faux pas considering the fact that employees are directly / indirectly affected by the change in some shape or form and are vital to the entire process of the change initiative itself – quite simply, they are the tools for the change.


Taking employees out of their comfort zones as a result of change is a mammoth challenge that leadership has to not only come to terms with but also consequently manage successfully with minimal disruption and friction, both to the business and to professional relationships.


Several factors contribute towards resistance to change such as a fear of the unknown, a ‘’what’s in it for me’’ (WIIFM) mentality, trust issues, lack of understanding and subsequent buy-in, rationale and benefits of the change, management of the change initiative, ambiguity, timing, etc. It is due to these reasons, which are merely scratching the surface of the various causes of resistance that hinder successful organizational change, aspects which are covered in detail through our CIPD and ILM programmes.


While the human element is the basic foundation of any change process to begin with, leadership has to also simultaneously take care of the strategic and technical aspects of the change program, albeit cautiously.

The next step is for leaders to be able to communicate with transparency and clarity in such a way that inspires employee confidence in them and the change being brought about. The objective and strategies on how to get there need to be given as key messages as well as how this change impacts all stakeholders.

Another important aspect to consider is the need for leaders / change agents to be adept at identifying key political players in the organizational political arena and then monitoring, managing and positively maneuvering them to work towards the change being implemented.

Finally, another aspect that must be taken into account is that people management is a complex aspect of organisations and is comprised of a variety of factors that impact all staff with regards to their performance, attitudes, differences, aspirations, expectations, needs and wants and to quite a significant extend their cultural influences which is a marriage between the organizational and individual cultures.

It’s not an easy road to travel and with great power, comes great responsibility indeed! So, how do you deal with change?

Please contact Oakwood to discuss how our qualification programmes can help you and your organisation.  We are also very happy to discuss consultancy or bespoke programmes to help your HR, L&D and senior management teams.

You can email us at: info@oakwooddubai.ae or call on +971 4 359 9020.