The Compulsions of Transitions – Human Factors

By Sairam Bollapragada

It is well known fact that Transitions are ridden with risks. However, many times, in order to demean the risks, the transition manager tries all the tricks and ticks in his bag and rightfully so. The outcomes are important and a successful cut-over with least pain to the continued service delivery is the key. However, there are many factors which are outside of the control parameters of a transition manager – majorly attributed to the client organization. Let me jot down few points for consideration here….

Transition is seen by many employees as an opportunity for benefit out of chaos.  It could be to address the work-life balance, diversity, importance, move-up-the-ladder, etc. There are several agendas from various stakeholders that add complexity to the entire process. The client may view transition as an opportunity to weed out the non-performing employees while the incoming vendor would look at reducing the pain of hiring best people who are high performers and can make the transition journey almost a cake-walk.

However, one should also appreciate that the employees, at this point in time, undergo lot of stress with the trauma of risks arising from potential job-losses. This has to be very skillfully handled else the best are always the first to leave and leave behind the mediocrity with lot of risks to the success of transition. Knowledge is the obvious key.  The failure of companies to recognize that an Organization is community of knowledge workers (esp in IT industry) who can be positively or negatively influenced has thrown a spanner into the plans.

Intelligent Communication plans and patterns can be critical to the success of creating a positive environment and help transition to definitely succeed. It is psychologically proven that people tend to be poor performers due to stress and depression. Regular positive notes and communications assuring the best to the employees is a must and should be planned that way.

Similarly strategizing the action plan- majorly with the timelines plays vital role. One of the examples of bad strategy is dismissal of an employee during transition. It could be disastrous to the trust of employees and may not prompt them to share their skills or useful insights into the work they might be handling and this can impact in a huge way.

Another strategy that can go wrong is trying to make changes at several layers at the same time. These organizational transformations should be kept disassociated from transitions and if it becomes so inevitable, must be kept at minimal.  There is hardly any mitigation to employees at all levels resigning from consistent pressure during transition. Many employers don’t factor the crisis of confidence before the business goals they have set out to accomplish. Again, as mentioned good people leave first.  This can impact our transition plans severely and it can leave the transition manager crippled if it happens even before you have commenced transition. Then the knowledge is gone and you have nobody to fill in.

 

Potential cures:                                                                       

A Transition manager should insist on getting his counterpart role to be positioned in the client organization as well so that some of the client dynamics can be handled.

The transition managers must work towards getting an understanding of the ground reality during due diligence to sense the hostility of the situation. If there seems to be silent rejection, please advise clients to plan for the open houses and soothe the situation. Open interactions help situations to ease.

However, sometimes, the fear of loss of job and change can prompt employees to turn hostile and aggressive. Even when offered a job, there is no guarantee that the offer will be accepted. This requires employees to be handled with kid gloves.

Sometimes, the connects to the client-employees can really open doors to knowledge bases. This is worth giving a shot and of course with the consent of the client management. It also helps to open communication channels, especially with the critical employees.

These are not exhaustive list as there can be multiple ways to handle sentiments, emotions, security, job-satisfaction, and all other human factors that can impact transition. However, the risks associated with the re-badging or HR transition should be assessed and mitigated cautiously. The same is discussed in another blog at my site called “Re-badging – Some Dos and Don’t’s”.

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