The Agents of Change: How to Manage Disruptions to the Status Quo
Published: May 27, 2016
Author: Laura Rodnitzky
When you’re with a company for 6+ years, you witness a lot of change – some good and some not so good. When one of your main responsibilities is supporting and nurturing the company culture, you feel the highs and lows of change more acutely than most – especially at a company like 3Q, where we value transparency and openness and encourage our team to share their thoughts and questions, no matter how difficult or challenging that may be at times.
Above and beyond promoting transparency, the job of the HR and Culture team in times of change is to make sure every individual knows how the changes affect them. It’s a natural question for people to have. Whether you’re announcing a reorganization, an acquisition, employee departures, or changes to perks and benefits – people want to know: What does this mean for me?
The goal is always to get ahead of this question before it’s asked. If somebody has to ask, it means we as a company didn’t do a good enough job in communicating the changes to the team. Or it means we didn’t do a good enough job thinking about the ways change may affect people in different teams or offices. The bigger we get, the more difficult it is to anticipate all the questions and concerns, but the important thing is to be open and honest about what the future holds for individuals and teams, and then take a step back and ask what we could have done differently when communicating the change.
Having now gone through a few re-orgs, a name change, two acquisitions (one as the acquirer and one as the acquired), periods of rapid growth, and periods of cutting back at 3Q, I see the difference in how the Executive team and the HR and Culture teams approach change. We spend a lot more time discussing possible questions and concerns, we are upfront with the company about difficult news or challenges, and we give employees space to digest the news and come back to us with feedback. We have the Executive team follow up and address that feedback, and then we invite more.
It’s impossible to say there won’t be more change at 3Q, and it’s impossible to say that we’ll manage future change perfectly. But maintaining our open communication between the team and the execs, and inviting employee feedback and questions on a regular basis, makes change a lot more manageable for everyone.