A Third of Companies Say Employees Don't Adapt to Change

April 1, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - New research from Right Management has found that 31% of human resource professionals report that employees at their company are not able to adapt to changes at work, and employee engagement and productivity are a major risk.

Another 43% said their employees are able to adapt somewhat and get the job done during change, but employee morale suffers. Only a quarter (26%) reported that their employees respond well to change.

“Addressing the challenges created by today’s tumultuous economy requires leaders to make a variety of difficult changes, from reductions in force to radical restructuring,” said Right Management President and Chief Operating Office Douglas J. Matthews, in a press release. “As our poll results demonstrate – with only one in four employees having the agility to adapt to change – most organizations don’t prepare their employees to handle changes at work. As a result, change management strategies tend to fail, undermining the organization’s ability to achieve the goals the change initiative was designed to produce.”

Failure to act can have severe consequences, according to Matthews. “Productivity drops, service quality declines, unwanted turnover and absenteeism increases, customer loyalty wanes and often the organization’s brand reputation is tarnished. And all of that, of course, ultimately affects the bottom line,” he said. “Understanding and developing the behaviors that help individuals adapt and thrive during change will enable organizations to realize significant benefits and ensure the company’s continued success.”

Right Management conducted this research via an online poll in February and March, 2009. One hundred seventeen North American human resource professionals responded.