ABC Groups of hotels is a chain of hotel based in Australia that was founded in 1987. The hotel was initially a 3-star hotel that had around 25 rooms and later on expanded to 45 rooms and introduced new services and amenities that helped it in falling under the 5-star hotel category. In 1996, the hotel started to expand its business operations by opening new branches in different parts of Australia. At present, the chain of hotel has around 32 5-hotels in different parts of Australia and is emerging as an industrial leader because of the services and amenities that it offers to its clients.
In the past few months, the hotel group had noticed a steep rise in the number of guests that check into their hotels, which was having an effect on the management of the company. Due to holiday seasons and too many check-ins and check-outs, the management was not being able to cope up with the high demand and the customers were made to wait for a couple of hours before they could be allotted a room. To to upscale the quality of services, ABC Groups of hotels took an initiative so that it could digitise the check-in and checkout system. Digitising the check-in and check-out process could help the hotel group to avoid cases where the guests were made to wait for hours before the house keeping staff to get their rooms ready so that they could check-in into their rooms. To ensure even better services, the hotel group has planned to implement an ERP Business suite that will be especially designed to make the process of check-ins and check-outs much faster. The ERP business suite was supposed to:
To achieve perfection in its objectives, the hotel management thought that it would implement an ERP Business suite and would make its housekeeping staff undergo extensive training and development sessions so that they could learn how to use the new software and use it efficiently to manage the check in and check out processes. The company also decided that it would test its plan by initially implementing the change program at the Sydney franchise of the ABC Hotel.
Luckily, I was working as a part of the housekeeping team in ABC Hotel, Sydney, when the company decided to implement a change program in our hotel. We, as a team, were aware of the fact that the increase in demand for our services had disturbed the smoothness of our operations to some extent and that the senior level management was trying to come up with a solution to the ongoing problems but the change program came as a complete surprise to use and also to some of the top officials of our hotel. The change management program implemented by the management of the hotel greatly helped me in gaining a better insight into the process of change management and certain important challenges that can be faced by the managers while trying to implement an organisational change.
During the implementation of the change program in ABC Hotel, an important issue, according to me, which had an impact on the stakeholders involved was the communication of change and lack of motivation.
Due to globalisation, the business world has become highly competitive and complex. Business organisations are now vulnerable to a number of internal and external environment factors that can undergo changes in real time. In order to survive in the market, business organisations have to continuously implement workplace changes that can help them in competing with the market trends.
It is often said that change is the only constant thing but it is never easy to implement changes in the workplace without proper communication and motivation. Contemporary business organisations are facing a number of issues related to change management and resistance to change is one of the main issues behind the failure of change management programs. Resistance to change is the behaviour or the action that the stakeholders demonstrate when they become aware of an upcoming change, which might pose a threat to their work lives and routine (changingminds.org, n.d.). Though resistance to change can occur due to a number of reasons, lack of proper communication channels and the inability of the senior level management to keep the employees motivated are two prime reasons that give rise to resistance to change. Lack of communication instils fear in the mind of the employees and they are more likely to perceive a change as a threat to their work lives. on the other hand, the inability of the managers to keep the workers motivated to accept the change and demonstrate a change in behaviour also reduces employee morale and they become more likely to resist the changes being planned for their betterment.
As discussed above, I got to be a part of the change management program that the management of ABC Hotel had planned to implement, which gave me an opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the process of change management and the issue of lack of communication and motivation associated with it.
Though the workforce was aware about the prevailing problems in the hotel i.e. delays in check ins and check outs, but none of us had thought of such a large scale change program upcoming for the entire housekeeping staff. The decision of implementing a technological solution to deal with the problem was a complete surprise to the entire hotel workforce and the fact that the housekeeping staff will have to undergo training and development to operate the new technology made the situation even more complex. I could clearly notice that the senior management had committed a blunder in the very first step of the change management process as it failed to communicate the change in an appropriate manner. The information regarding the change program started taking rounds as a rumour and had already created a fear in the minds of those employees who were going to be affected as a result of the change program. The workforce started creating panic when the information was officially approved because it had no idea about the change in their roles and responsibilities that would result due to the changes being planned for the workplace. I could feel a lot of negativity in the minds of my co-workers because they had developed a fear of the unknown in their minds and the failure of the management to communicate the change program to them was demotivating for the entire workforce. As a result, we ended up resisting the change, which posed a great challenge to the managers of the organisation and prevented them from successfully implementing the change in the workplace. The failure of the management to properly communicate with the employees and to keep them motivated did not go well as the management ended up wasting a lot of its importance resources and time. Further, the change program was not successfully implemented and the productivity and efficiency of the staff also got hindered. Therefore, the change program initiated by the ABC Hotel was very helpful for me as it made me realise the importance of communication and motivation when change programs are being implemented in the workplace.
I had heard a lot about workplace changes, resistance to workplace and also that implementing changes in the workplace is not an easy task. It was only during my job at ABC Hotel that I realised the difficulty that the managers as well as the workforce faces while change programs are being planned and designed for a workplace. It helped me in learning the importance of communication and motivation in change management programs. I was keen on knowing the reasons for the failure of the initiative, so I started researching and found some interested change management models that helped me in gaining a better understanding of the entire process and the strategies. that the company could have used to successfully implement the desired changes.
One such model that greatly grabbed my interest was William Bridges’ transition model. The model was developed by William Bridges and was published in 1991. The strength of this model lies in the fact that it stresses more upon transition rather than stressing upon change. The model defines three different stages in the process of transition. These stages are:
In the first stage, the people who are likely to get affected by the change will show resistance to the change because of fear, anger, sadness, frustration, etc. it is important for the managers to accept the resistance shown by people, find its root cause and eliminate it in order to make a positive progress (Mindtools, n.d.). Communicating with the people is of utmost importance in this stage.
In the second stage, the people who are likely to get affected by the change are often confused, uncertain and impatient. Even though they offer lesser resistance to change, they are more likely to feel higher workload as they have to cope-up with the new systems and technology. In this stage, the employees might demonstrate anxiety, low morale, low productivity, etc. (Bridges & Mitchell, n.d.) In this stage, the managers or the change agents should ensure that they are able to keep the employees engaged and are able to keep the motivated to make a transition from one stage to another.
In the third or the final stage, people are likely to start accepting the changes. They start to demonstrate a change in their behaviour. In this stage, it is important for the managers to reinforce the changes that they have been able to achieve so far by rewarding and appreciating those people who show a change in their work and behaviour.
After studying the above model, I got a greater clarity of the entire change management procedure that was adopted by ABC Hotel and I was able to pin point the reasons of failure of the program. The management did not prepare adequately for the change implementation and offered no support to the people involved in any stage. In the very first stage where the employees were supposed to be angry, frustrated, etc. the management did not communicate properly with them. Even if some of the people were able to make a progress to the second stage, the lack of motivation prevented them from accepting the change and nobody was able to enter the third stage at all. As a result, the change management program failed and the productivity and efficiency of the hotel also suffered as a result of it.
Change management is one of the toughest processes that business organisations have to go through and also for the managers who have to implement changes in the workplace. Workplace changes are a necessary evil, which have helped many companies in becoming more competitive while the failure of change management programs have also thrown a number of industrial leaders entirely out of the competition.
From my experience, I learned that the management and implementation of change is easier said than done. The change models designed by the pioneers of the subject, which are available to us from the past, should definitely be used before designing and implementing workplace changes so that the chances of success can be enhanced.
changingminds.org, n.d. Resistance to Change. [Online] Available at: https://changingminds.org/disciplines/change_management/resistance_change/resistance_change.htm[Accessed 15 September 2017].
Bridges, W. & Mitchell, S., n.d. Leading Transition: A New Model for Change. [Online] Available at: https://www.crowe-associates.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/WilliamBridgesTransitionandChangeModel.pdf [Accessed 15 September 2017].
Mindtools, n.d. Bridges' Transition Model. [Online] Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/bridges-transition-model.htm [Accessed 15 September 2017].
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