Training is an integral part of an organization’s life cycle. A company requires nurturing talent and providing adequate training to its new members to replenish turnover rates and adapt to the changing realities of the market (Argyris & Schon, 1978). In the scope of this project, it is expected to investigate a company with a lack of training as the major problem that influences the quality of work, communication, and overall performance. The goal is to explain the essence of the lack of training and find a solution to this problem through the 7S framework and Lewin’s three-step model as a part of a change management process.
The lack of training is an organizational problem that is characterized by a number of issues, including poor employee engagement, communication absence, and weak management. The potential solutions segment of the paper discusses a strategy of conducting changes within the organization, possible difficulties and shortcomings, as well as the measurements of success or failure of the intervention. Finally, the 7S framework, along with the three-step theory by Lewin, will be used to improve the quality of training for employees of the company.
Main Problems to Be Addressed
In the modern world of business, competitions and innovations determine the quality of a working process and employees’ relationships. Organizations are run by managers who complete a number of tasks, lead other people, and investigate the chosen industry and potential stakeholders (Rogers, 2018). Productive relationships depend on learning and the development of talent, skills, and knowledge. Unfortunately, about 45% of managers fail to receive the necessary training and continue leading intuitively (Rogers, 2018). It is hard for an organization to meet standards and create adequate working conditions if a leader is poorly aware of some organizational aspects. Training is not only a chance to increase the route of success but also an excellent opportunity to maintain visibility and encourage belonging. As soon as employees and leaders improve an understanding of their tasks and share their experiences, the exchange of information will positively influence the growth of the company.
The lack of training is not the worst problem for today’s companies. The inability to get people prepared for their jobs or evident neglect of responsibilities can create new complications. In a short period of time, an organization with a poorly trained team becomes unable to find necessary stakeholders and loses clients. Then, a financial crisis occurs, causing new obligations and expectations. Therefore, as soon as the problem of the lack of training is identified, the company must enhance change.
Discussion of Main Issues
In the company under analysis, a team faces several critical problems that are rooted in the lack of training, influence the working process, and prevent success from happening. At this moment, the organization is not ready for any change process because the leaders fail to ensure correct information and techniques. Poor communication, the impossibility to track progress, no change management plan, and a weak feedback system are the results of the lack of training. Even if people understand the urgency of these issues, they do not possess enough qualities and knowledge to develop and accept changes. Today, there are many flexible learning academies that aim at supporting and training leaders and their followers (Rogers, 2018). The question is why not all companies recognize the need for professional training and the improvement of employees’ skills.
One of the possible explanations of why a company suffers from the lack of training is the inability to understand the true worth of this learning process. In other words, leaders must be adequately motivated to manage organizational change due to the adverse outcomes of the lack of training. When people are trained, they know what they can do to encourage the success of their company. They recognize potential threats and opportunities (on the basis of SWOT analysis) and take necessary precautionary steps. Another benefit of training is the improvement of visibility and organizational purposes. In some cases, employees have skills and can work hard, but leaders fail to explain current goals and expected outcomes. Communication and engagement of employees in the workplace help reduce burnout, increase satisfaction, and control the results. Therefore, a new change management process should focus on the eradication of the problem of inadequate training in a team.
Potential Solutions to the Problem
The proposed organizational change strategy is based on the 7S framework that informs the changes to be made in a company. There are seven interconnected factors that can influence one another reciprocally. These factors are as follows (Waterman, Peters, & Phillips, 1980):
- Strategy. The offered strategic plan is focused on the lack of training and the improvement of employees’ knowledge in the chosen industry. Taking into consideration the fact that the company has already faced a problem of inadequate training, it is expected to find a person outside the organization who will evaluate the current level of knowledge and skills in employees and offer an effective plan of learning.
- Structure. To increase the speed of feedback transfer and promote efficiency in training, the company structure would need to be rearranged from the standard vertical hierarchy with multiple levels to a flat organization with fewer levels and increased managerial autonomy. That way, managers, experts, and change professionals would be able to communicate with one another better, leading to increased responsiveness of the system as a whole, which is critical during training and change.
- Systems. In order to emphasize training, all processes and procedures would be conjoined with the information flow. Change managers and team leaders will be given the tools to evaluate the skills of trained employees during every stage of the implementation plan. Not only would such an approach improve the effectiveness of training methods, but it would also enable the employees to see their own progress and figure out the areas they need to improve on.
- Staff. In addition to the existing managerial core, every team should get its own training and change professional to be hired from the outside in order to provide the skills and knowledge necessary to facilitate the needed change operations. Although the purpose of these positions is temporary, it would be prudent to keep them in the long-term scope, as the process of organizational change should be continuous.
- Style. An appropriate leadership style is necessary during the implementation of training and change. During the process, a transformational leadership style would be right, as it would help individual employees adapt to changes and learn new skills necessary for the success of the operation. After the significant changes have been completed, a gradual reformation to a servant leadership style would be prudent, as it would help employees grow and increase their professionalism in less stressful change environments.
- Shared values. It is critical for all managers and employees to understand the reasons why training and change are essential, as well as their individual roles in the process. Communication, the exchange of experiences and knowledge, and mutual evaluation of the results are the initial tasks for a team. In other words, employees should not only receive new knowledge but understand how to use it and evaluate potential benefits.
- Skills. At this moment, the company does not demonstrate its readiness for change. Weak leadership skills may be interpreted as the root of the problem. A leader is not able to explain the need for transition or feedback. No flexibility in the workplace is observed, and employees must work hard to identify their problems. Employees relied on the skills and knowledge they had when they were hired. Such outside factors as globalization, innovation, and technological progress were neglected due to the lack of training.
The general recommendations provided in the section above would need to be transformed into tangible parameters, which include financial materials, employee numbers, and budgetary spending reports. Since the emphasis of the intervention is on communication, change management, and employee training, the majority of these resources would be spent on training manuals, outside specialists, and communication efforts. The 7S framework is praised for its capacity for integrating numerous factors together, but one of its significant weaknesses lies in conflict management and the potential for resistance to change (Hayes, 2018). While the shared values acknowledge the importance of being on the same side when training individuals and conducting changes, it does not provide effective mechanisms of doing so.
One of the potential solutions to change management in employees is Kurt Levin’s three-step change theory. It involves the gradual elimination and replacement of the existing practices with new ones by increasing the external drivers that direct the employees from the current status quo (Burnes & Cooke, 2013). The second step involves the persuasion of all individuals interested in the necessity of change, which would help them accept new training practices. Finally, the re-freezing part would cement the newly acquired skills and habits as the new status quo. Such an approach would address the issues of change resistance in most employees. Some, however, are likely to be incapable of accepting the necessary alterations, no matter the cause. They would need to be replaced in order to eliminate dissent in the rest of the collective.
Trials of Recommendations and Results
It is expected for the proposed organizational changes to improve the productivity, adaptivity, and training level of all employees. These parameters can be measured quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The qualitative evaluation of the success or failure of the proposed recommendations could be acquired by using surveys and open-ended interviews in order to discover the perceptions of the employees about the process (Hayes, 2018). Objective tests and evaluations of employee skills and parameters would provide the quantitative data needed to estimate the improvements in individual performance (Hayes, 2018). Short-term and long-term company performance can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the change in the company at large. Finally, customer surveys could help assess the effectiveness of changes as perceived by the customers.
Review and Measurement of Results
An objective success of the intervention would mean an increase in employee self-perception, customer satisfaction ratings, increased productivity, improved quality of goods, and overall company performance. Each of these successes can be evaluated in monetary gains received by the company. A survey conducted prior to the implementation of the program would provide a baseline to compare the results. It is expected to implement the change during the next six months and gather employees’ opinions and answers to the questions about their goals, visions, and responsibilities before the shift (un-freezing) and after the change (re-freezing).
Summary and Conclusions
The reviewed company has significant problems in change management, training, and communication, meaning that the system has to be built from the ground up. The lack of movement was defined as a root problem in the organization, and the task was to implement change and find a solution. The proposed change management plan focused on training and was created using the 7S framework for the overall management plan and Kurt Levin’s 3-step change theory for employee guidance during the process. The program suggests working in close collaboration with professional change organizations, restructuring the company chart from vertical to horizontal, and dedicating substantial resources to ensure organizational success. The success of the proposed changes could be evaluated in monetary and non-monetary gains over the short-to-long term period.
Argyris, C., & Schon, D. (1978). Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Burnes, B., & Cooke, B. (2013). Kurt Lewin’s field theory: A review and re-evaluation. International Journal of Management Reviews, 15(4), 408-425.
Hayes, J. (2018). The theory and practice of change management (5th ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave.
Rogers, A. (2018). Employees don’t trust their managers, and it’s hurting your bottom line. Forbes. Web.
Waterman, R. H., Peters, T. J., & Phillips, J. R. (1980). The structure is not an organization. Business Horizons, 23(3), 14-26.