Teacher River Wood Plant Case At the onset, the management team selected seems to be very cooperative and positive but in fact are hiding problems that undermine performance and productivity in River Woods Plant. The most telling indication of this problem is the increased absenteeism of 5% percent since the operational changes was implemented. Other subtle indication that the operational changes was not that welcome since the management team are more comfortable discussing operational concern with their former line manager. These problems are indication that change management was not properly implemented or no change management program was implemented at all when the new operation strategy was implemented.
The operational change may have been just imposed and not communicated properly. The employees in the River Woods Plant may not have fully understood its necessity and may have perceived the operational changes as something that the headquarters imposed on them. Since they feel powerless to resist, they just try to sabotage it by absenteeism. These actions such as absenteeism and inclination to report to old line manager is an indication of resistance to change and a subtle effort to revert back to the old structure where they were comfortable.
It is not however an indication of the lack of leadership since the new team was very cooperative with the new manager. As manager of River Woods Plant Manager, these must signs must not be ignored because the meetings about operational changes would be pointless (even if the team management members seems cooperative) when people in the plant would subtly exert effort to revert to the old structure and that includes the selected team managers.
The River Woods Plant Manager must implement remedial measures to achieve genuine acceptance among his team managers and in general, to all employees in the plant to the effect that discussion of operational matters to old managers will cease and that absenteeism will end. This remedial measure will include a change management program with an incentive system as a motivation. The change manage program that would be implemented parallel to the implementation of the operational changes would include the team managers chosen, line managers and supervisors who would communicate and encourage their subordinates to embrace the operational changes.
They could also answer questions that they are not comfortable asking during focus group discussions. The content of the change management would include a thorough communication why the change is needed, its benefits to the company and to the plant and ultimately, why it is more advantageous to the employees. This must be communicated to all employees in the plant both the managers and rank and file employees. This can be implemented through focus group discussion across the River Woods Plant to make fully understand the operational changes.
The employees place and significance in the new operational changes must also be properly communicated for the employees to understand and feel part of the change and take ownership of the new responsibilities assigned to them. All mediums of communication in the plant should be utilized to reach all employees. A campaign must be launched to make the operational change acceptable to the employees in River Woods Plant. Incentive program can be added to change management that would give reward to good attendance and performance.
While its effect may be temporary as material reward alone cannot improve performance, the incentive program can help facilitate the desired change that could also alter the behavior about absenteeism. In addition, this could alter the negative perception of the new operation change as something desirable and end resistance. This may cost the plant a little but this can be easily defrayed by improved performance when employees genuinely accept and embrace it.
It is also important to mention that the presence of the VP of Marketing may laudable in terms communicating customer’s needs to the plant that manufactures the product for them and the importance of customer satisfaction. Most likely however, the VP of Marketing, just like any marketing head, would sound imposing on what needs to be done to achieve customer satisfaction. While this is ideal in a normal operation of a plant to communicate customer perspective to those who makes the product, this may not be ideal in the initial stage of a plant where operational changes are taking place and where employees do not yet fully understand nor have accepted the change.
This may even aggravate the situation and add resistance among employees about the operational changes. The VP of Marketing may initially change role as part of the change management program in communicating to the employee why such operational changes is important to become more responsive to the customer’s needs and why being competitive in the market is more advantageous to them and their job security.
This way, the employees in the River Woods Plant would understand more why customer satisfaction is important and will tend to accept operational changes to achieve such end.