Top 10 most frequently
Email this page to a friend
Module 3 - Anticipating frequently asked questions and answering
The Change Management Learning Center is excited to announce its new tutorial series on
how to work with supervisors when managing change. This tutorial series, taken from
Management Guide for Managers and Supervisors, presents the essential steps to enable
supervisors to coach their front-line employees successfully through change.
1 provided a training outline you can use to introduce change management to your
supervisors. Module 2 provided a communications package outline for supervisors to
use with their employees. Module 3 addresses frequently asked questions from
employees and provides answers to those questions. Module 4 will teach managers and
supervisors how to use the ADKAR model to identify gaps in the change management process
and provide effective coaching for their employees. Module 5 will conclude the
series with change management benchmarking results found in the Employee's
- Why is change
- What is the
risk of not changing?
- What is the
- If I wait long
enough, will the change just go away?
- What will the
change mean to me?
- What are my
- What are the
benefits of supporting the change?
- What if I
disagree with the change?
- What if they
have tried before and failed?
- What if I am
forced to do more for the same pay?
The questions and answers below provide a basic foundation for a face-to-face question
and answer session between a supervisor and their employees. Each answer is
more powerful and effective when supervisors combine the basic answer with company
specific information and data as it relates to the change - essentially
customizing the answer to their organization.
The questions and answers are all part of building awareness among employees.
Lack of awareness is the number one cause of resistance among
employees* yet the easiest resistance point to fix.
Answering these common questions allows employees to uncover:
- why the change is happening
- what's in it for me (WIIFM)?
It may not be just one question that provides the answers employees are looking for and
it might not be the same set for each employee, but the following questions and answers
will get you on the road to building awareness among employees.
*(data taken from Best Practices in Change Management Report)
|1. Why is change happening now?
may feel like change is happening suddenly and that it is directed right at you. In
reality, most changes begin outside the company many months or even years before internal
changes take place. Research shows that most major business changes are a response to
changes in the external marketplace.
These external marketplace changes can result in:
Loss of market share (your company is losing money).
New offers or capabilities by competitors (they're creating new business faster than
Lower prices (their cost of doing business is lower, resulting in better prices to
A new business opportunity for growth.
External business drivers take time to set in. If they have already affected the bottom
line of your company, change is needed immediately. In some cases it is already too late -
the internal change should have started much sooner.
2. What is the risk of not changing?
marketplace changes become apparent inside the organization, managers suddenly realize the
risks of not changing.
For businesses, the risk of not changing could mean:
Loss of jobs (even at the executive level).
Failure in the marketplace.
Bankruptcy or loss of revenue.
For employees, the risk of not changing could mean:
Fewer promotional opportunities.
Lower job security in the long term.
Immediate loss of employment.
3. What is the rush?
Employees usually find out what
is happening after the fact. Organizations do not always share financial information or
talk about poor performance issues with employees. Therefore, when change is needed
quickly, employees may be taken by surprise.
On one hand, organizations are trying to implement change as quickly as possible, while on
the other hand, employees are one step behind trying to understand why the change is
needed and how they will be impacted.
Unfortunately for the company, most employees are in no hurry to change. In fact, many
employees may not see the need to change at all. Forcing employees to change when they do
not understand the business reasons can be a lot like pushing a giant cube of Jello - you
might have an impact, but no real overall shift occurs.
When the force is removed, everything returns to the way it was before.
4. If I wait long enough, will the change just go away?
financial success of the organization depends on change, then you can expect the change to
happen with or without you. Waiting will usually not change the outcome.
In most cases a company will change - even in the face of resistance from employees
- especially if financial success is at stake.
This does not imply that change will be bad for you. In the end many changes result
in positive outcomes for employees. Benefits might include better tools, improved work
processes, more secure jobs and new opportunities for you to advance your career.
5. What will change mean to me?
Change to a business can
New ways of doing work.
New systems or tools.
New reporting structures.
New job roles.
New products or services.
New markets or geographic locations.
How will the change impact me?
That depends on your current job, the extent of the change, and the choices you make in
response to the change.
With small changes, you may not be impacted at all. With major changes, you may be
doing new work, using new tools or reporting to a new manager. With radical changes to the
business, some employees may work in other departments or even move to other companies.
When the change is implemented, each person will be affected differently. In the end,
how you react to the change plays an important role in how the change will impact you.
The good news is:
The actual impact of the change on you is directly related to how you react to the
In other words, you are in control of how you respond to change. Better yet, how the
organization views you and your future role in the company may depend on your response to
change and the choices you make.
6. What are my choices?
Your choices about how to
respond to change will vary as the organization moves through the change process. Think
about the change in these time periods:
When the change is first announced, but before the change is implemented.
During the change process: when the new solution is being deployed.
After the change is in place: following the implementation of the solution.
Your choices and their consequences depend on the phase of change you are experiencing.
In some cases choices you make may have negative outcomes. They may be bad for you and for
the organization. Other choices you make will benefit you and enhance your ability to
thrive in a changing organization.
In Module 5 of this series, we will present the common
choices employees make and their potential outcomes.
7. What are the benefits of supporting the change?
The benefits of
supporting the change, especially changes that are critical to the success of the
1. Enhanced respect and reputation within the organization.
2. Improved growth opportunities (especially for active supporters of the change).
3. Increased job satisfaction (knowing you are helping your organization respond
effectively to a rapidly changing marketplace).
4. Improved job security.
8. What if I disagree with the change? What if I feel they are fixing the wrong
Be patient. Keep an open mind. Make sure you
understand the business reasons for the change. However, don't be afraid to voice your
specific objections or concerns. If your objections are valid, chances are good they will
come to light and be resolved. If you feel strongly against a specific element of the
change, let the right people know, and do it in an appropriate manner.
9. What if they've tried before and failed?
The history of your company may include some previous change projects that failed.
If failure is what employees are accustomed to, the organization will have a hard time
erasing the past. In order for companies to be successful, everyone must be prepared to
accept the past as history and focus on what lies ahead.
10. What if I am forced to do more for the same pay?
When your organization is undergoing a change, this usually means that new processes,
systems or skills are required. Your role in the changed environment may include learning
these new processes or acquiring new skills. Indeed, some of your responsibilities may
For the old way of doing things, compensation may actually decrease as the value of
that work to the organization goes down. However, compensation for new work may increase
as the value for new services and products increases. This is a part of change.
Coming next Module 4 will teach managers and supervisors how to use the ADKAR model to
identify gaps in the change management process and provide effective coaching for their
Email this page to a friend