Organizational change becomes necessary when the current way of conducting business is no longer effective. However, change management doesn’t occur in a vacuum; it affects just about everything – including the customers you aim to please and the candidates you hope to attract. Whether it’s new technology the company will invest in or the restructuring of roles, organizational change can serve as an incentive for applicants to apply or a deterrent. It’s all in the approach.
Here are some tips that can further your recruitment goals, followed by some pointers for candidates applying with a company experiencing change:
Be fully transparent
It’s not enough to say that changes are ongoing. “The why is essential,” advised change management expert Susie Patterson. It’s the first step in understanding the change process for any individual. Being open and honest about the rationale for the restructuring helps candidates understand what’s going on and form their own conclusions about whether the transformation is something they can embrace.
Identify evidence of progress
The whole point of change management is to bring about improvements. Wherever progress has been made, reference those examples to candidates. In doing so, applicants can determine how these positive developments will benefit them should they decide to accept a position. They might also then spread the word about the improvements within the company based on what they’ve observed, which can help strengthen the company’s employer branding and potentially spawn increased interest in job applicants. Word of mouth and first-hand observation are two of the more effective outlets for communicating about enhancements.
Ask plenty of questions
Interviews should never be a one-way street – where the applicant is the only one answering questions. When speaking about a role with a company going through change, this serves as the perfect opportunity to ask about the specifics. It not only helps you come to a decision about whether this is a change you support and can get behind, but also demonstrates engagement and willingness, which is something employers are always looking for in new hires.
Do your research
Abraham Lincoln put it best: “Give me six hours to chop a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
In short, preparation is key, and research should be a part of how you evaluate a prospective employer that is undergoing change. Often you can find information online via press releases, new stories and company websites announcing major changes, and if further along in the process, milestones and outcomes of those organizational changes. Do some homework in this regard to see what changes have been made, and to what extent they compare with those of competitors. The insights you glean can be used to inform your judgment about whether the company made the changes in order to stay competitive or went about them voluntarily to improve performance in areas where it is under-performing. You may also want to assess the big picture, as the changes may speak to a different direction the company’s industry as a whole is moving toward.
Has the employer laid out the proposed steps for how the transformation will occur? Are the steps and goals clear and achievable? Having a plan in place is a good sign that the company has thought the process through and is invested in delivering on its intentions.
Whether you’re instituting change or courting a company in the midst of transformation, the approach is key to the desired outcome. Doing your due diligence always pays off. Expanding these efforts – through transparency, recognition, observation and research – increases the chances that change management will be seen as a success both internally and externally.