Change Readiness Assessment for the U.S. Branch

Posted on: 28th May 2023

Question

MBA 687 Milestone One Guidelines and Rubric

You have been contracted as an HR consultant by a U.S. LLC in Wilmington, Delaware, to solve their internal issues. This U.S. LLC is a branch of a Singaporean software solutions provider with 140 employees and $20M revenue per year. The CEO of the Singaporean headquarters wants to open new markets in the United States, gain access to new customers, diversify risk, leverage resources, and increase profits. To meet these goals, she tasked a VP to establish and take charge of the U.S. branch.

Unfortunately, the newly formed U.S. branch has been facing several problems from the beginning.

Employees at the call center and the sales and marketing division are disengaged and emotionally fatigued as a result of contradictory communication between the branch’s leadership and the leadership at the Singaporean headquarters.

The branch team members feel frustrated and undervalued as a result of conflicting feedback from their VP and management team.

Messages from leadership lack consistency, especially regarding policies and practices related to human resources.

There is no training for team members.

Communication problems between the Singaporean headquarters and the U.S. branch are resulting in low employee morale.

Overall, the standard operating procedures (SOP) followed successfully at the headquarter office in Singapore could not be replicated at the U.S. branch. As a result, the CEO’s vision of successfully furthering expansion into the U.S. market remains unfulfilled.

Prompt

Perform the change readiness/needs assessment audit for the U.S. branch and submit a report of your findings to the VP in the course scenario. As the HR consultant, this would help you identify the readiness of the U.S. branch employees to adopt change plans. In this report prepared for the VP, you will discuss the change readiness of the workforce and leadership, willingness and capabilities for change, and any historical barriers to change from past planned or unplanned change management experiences.

Specifically, you must address the following rubric criteria:

                    Based on the Employee Engagement Surveys data, create visuals that illustrate areas in need of change at the U.S. branch.

Your visuals should address the following:

Appraisal, job-role stagnation, and promotion or recognition

Apathy or disinterest regarding the vision, mission, and values of the organization

Lack of trust in managers, especially senior leaders

Impressions about the organization’s attitude to inclusion and diversity

A justification of your selection of data points from the Employee Engagement Survey results         Discuss employees’ confidence in change management practices:

Consider the information available through the Employee Engagement Surveys and Leaders’ Self-Evaluations.

Do employees have a high degree of confidence in the company’s leadership? Explain your reasoning.

Explain the urgency for change at the employee and leadership level.

Analyze the middle managers’ (team leads’) role in creating an adoption mindset:

How would they serve as a bridge between the senior leaders and the frontline staff?

Are they ready to take ownership of the proposed change? Explain your reasoning.

                              How do leadership styles and power distribution impact change readiness?

                   Identify opportunities to increase change readiness/trust at the U.S. branch:

Why are some employees more accepting of change while others might be more reluctant?

How does the Forms of Resistance Grid explain the common reasons for resistance to change?

    Refer to the Exit Interviews and explore the Forms of Resistance Grid to discuss any two forms of resistance from this list: ambivalence, peer-focused dissent, upward dissent, sabotage, refusal/exit.

                     Use Hofstede's cultural dimension model and the Exit Interviews, Employee Engagement Surveys, and Leaders’ Self-

Evaluations to explain cultural considerations that may have created difficulties for the employees of the U.S. branch to adjust to the Singaporean headquarters' SOPs:

   Summarize the importance of culture considerations using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model in the context of the U.S. branch and the Singaporean headquarters.

Explain how Hofstede's model helps analyze cultural differences based on specific evidence and not on preconceived notions about different cultures.

Discuss how differences in specific dimensions of Hofstede's model may result in misunderstanding and change management frustration or failure.

   Discuss individualism and one other dimension from the list below that might impact the cross-cultural communication and business practice differences among the American and the Singaporean employees:

Uncertainty avoidance

Power distance

Long-term orientation

Guidelines for Submission

Submit a 2- to 3-page Word document with 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, and one-inch margins. Sources should be cited according to APA style. Consult the Shapiro Library APA Style Guide for more information on citations.

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Solution

Change Readiness Assessment for the U.S. Branch

A Singaporean software services provider expanded operations into the United States as a new market. Service delivery continues, but so does the unrest amongst the employees. They are distraught that the company is not offering optimal workplace welfare to foster growth. Neither is the company considerate of its new market and workforce. Therefore, it became imperative for the firm to evaluate human resources management and probe operations to identify flaws. As a result, it was identified that the company suffers a high employee turnover. Current employees also feel frustrated by management.

Exiting employees cite poor HR management practices as the main reason for leaving the U.S. branch. In addition, exit interviews highlight the relationship with management, lack of training, and career development opportunities as critical drivers of employee turnover. Feedback analysis also identified other causes of employee turnover. The results are summarized in the chart below. Major domains and functions faulted by the evaluation must change to rejuvenate employees and motivate them to work at the branch.

 The pie chart groups the reasons for employee turnover. Most of the reasons for exits are internal. Only 18% of employees left the branch because of external factors affirming the necessity of instigating the appropriate changes. The company should improve its onboarding and management practices based on the feedback from exit interviews.

Employees’ Confidence

Employees are the core of businesses and organizations because they actively participate in operations and business processes. The relationships between the U.S. branch’s employees and management are heavily strained. Employees are dissatisfied with the management’s low efforts for change. They feel unheard by the company, which continues to frustrate them. They have a high degree of willingness to adopt changes, but the company remains focused on operations. It is crucial for employees to feel the management values their contributions. This affects their performance, but decision-makers are less interested in making changes.

Employees’ confidence in management will continue to reduce unless an intervention is staged. Although operations are ongoing, reductions in employee confidence impact motivation to work at and for the U.S. branch (Sajjad, Ghazanfar & Ramzan, 2013). It is part of the reason some have already left, and more will follow if the situation remains unchanged. Having entered the US markets recently, the software services provider should implement policies and practices that align with human resources. It must forge lasting relationships with critical employees. Senior management at the Singaporean headquarters should urgently improve workplace welfare. The focus should be on building a superior employee-employer relationship.

Middle managers who interact with employees at the branch level should improve their management activities. The company exhibits strained relationships with human resources as it faces high employee turnover and current employee frustrations. The employees are not asking for wholesale changes but want to start internally. Ideally, management should discuss the current affairs with the employees directly. Middle managers should also encourage employees to share their opinions. They should not disregard recommendations from employees. The first and most crucial step is to show them the branch values them.

Managers always work for the employer by implementing their vision. However, there is a clear gap between policy and reality for the company's management. Jurisdictional differences are not helping because of the gaps in culture and policies. The company uses a leadership style that is ineffective in the United States. Feedback from exit interviews indicates a transactional leadership style that creates power distribution gaps. Middle managers have limited control over organizational culture and structure because they lack decision-making autonomy. The company should facilitate middle managers in implementing effective policies. However, it should provide oversight to align the policies with its corporate objectives.

Opportunities to Increase Change Readiness and Trust

There are various opportunities to increase change readiness and trust. Each opportunity has an impact on the organizational structure and culture. Implementation will also change some of the existing structures and involve resources. The least resource-intensive change opportunity is inclusivity. The employees currently working at the branch understand the dynamics. They are ideally posited to provide recommendations due to their experience with the company. Another opportunity is a change in organizational culture. For example, the company can use a flatarchy at the branch to smooth operations and relationships during transitions.

The company can also position its middle managers as change agents by granting them autonomy. Middle managers must use the newly-granted autonomy to listen to employees’ change recommendations. Thorough evaluation and follow-up on recommendations will improve relationships and motivate employees. Motivated employees will be a deviation from the current frustrations. In any case, creating awareness for changes is crucial. Employees must know and prepare for changes, which relies on their knowledge of the change. When these initiatives are adopted, change readiness and trust in management will increase.

Cultural Considerations

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimension model, the problem areas in the U.S. branch are long-term orientation and power distance (Hofstede, 2011). The company has a high power distance index because leaders in Singapore dictate all operations regardless of the variables involved. They encourage bureaucracy with them at the apex. Middle managers in the U.S. branch have limited power over operations. Gaps in organizational culture emanate from their inability to implement effective policies and practices. The Singaporean company has a short-term orientation. They focus on work and have little regard for sustainable operations. Their continued negligence of employee turnover in the past and inability to improve human resources management affirms the problem. 

References

Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context. Online readings in psychology and culture, 2(1), 2307-0919.

Sajjad, A., Ghazanfar, H., & Ramzan, M. (2013). Impact of motivation on employee turnover in telecom sector of Pakistan. Journal of Business studies quarterly, 5(1), 76.

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