Change: What’s in it for SME?

Business Growth

Every change is an opportunity – an opportunity to refresh and reinvent.

Changes in (i) ownership and management (ii) tools and work practices (iii) products and markets and (iv) migration to digital platforms are a few examples of adjustment you would typically go through at various points in your business.

Be it strategic or operational, welcome it -- as you are not the only one. Look around and see how the changing demographics and purchasing patterns of the 21st century consumer market force both small and big enterprises to adjust and adapt.

You are better off. You are familiar with every inch of your business and you know your employees.

Irrespective of the nature, size and impact of these changes, it is your employee who creates and delivers the change in your business. Thus, change management is managing your employee’s engagement to suit your business objectives.

Change is an opportunity

Having worked with dynamic owner-managers in startups and SMEs, I have observed that every change is an opportunity for leaders to "storm", "form" and "perform" with their teams all over again.

Adapting to computer-aided work was a big change to many businesses at one point of time and I witnessed how incentivising the change readiness through nominations for external training programs -- gradually converting the entire workforce to embrace that transition.   

Managing change in your business

It would be rewarding if you consider these THREE points while managing change in your business:

1. Your employees are your most important asset. Explain, educate and emphasise the need for change again and again, to your employees through all available channels of communication. Employees are the vehicles of change in your business. So keep the conversation on -- to help clear any apprehension. (Reference: ADKAR Model)

2. Lead the change. You know your employees and they want to hear it from you. Lead the change from the front, implementing it from the start to finish. Leaving a change program half-way would retard the changes you have envisaged for the success of your business and that would eventually reflect in employee participation. (Reference: ADKAR Model)

3. Diversity facilitates change programs. Differences in experience levels, culture and behaviours would create unique situations making it difficult for your competitor to copy your newly acquired competencies easily. This would give your business "extra edge" in the marketplace.

Jack Welch famously said, "An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive business advantage." 

A definite outcome of a successful change program would be the increase in brand and market value of your business. A favourable change experience would keep both your business and your employees motivated towards future changes. All these would contribute to the capability of your business to respond faster to the changes in the market – making you the one with the ultimate competitive advantage.

Preetha S

Experienced in talent management, change and employee relations.