Organizational Change Plan for Cowboy Bank Inc. - Part 6


3.4 Communication and Education

The initial step in implementing the change program is to inform the personnel of the pending changes. Various aspects of these have been explained in this plan. The first part is communication media. The appropriate media for announcing change is face to face coupled with written communication. Video conferencing is also appropriate for such communication. Media such as bulk sms or email should not be used during this period. The more effective the media is, the better the process (Yazici, 2002).

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The previous part dealt with the message. The message should be customized to show empathy for personnel and inspire them to own the change and work towards achieving the goals. The initial communication message should be carefully drafted. This is to avoid the chaos that may result from uncertainty. The message should be written in simple English so that the personnel understand the message clearly. If the message is complicated, the uncertainty would increase considerably. Uncertainty does not favor positive change (Bordia, Hobman, Jones, Gallois & Callan, 2004). The message used to communicate the leadership team’s decision to institute changes is therefore vital in the successful implementation of the plan.

This step involves a variety of activities. As the initial step towards change, it determines the trajectory taken by the plan. It needs to show strength. This is accomplished by involvement of top executives in the sensitization activities. Seeing the executives involved in communicating the message creates a sense of strength for the plan. The executives should come in strongly to convince the employees that the change program is the only approach (Cheney, Christensen, Zorn Jr & Ganesh, 2004). Support by top personnel also boosts the morale of the staff. It shows that the top executives are willing to sacrifice themselves for the course. Many of their juniors will follow this example. This plan will require the CEO to get involved in discussions with employees at all levels of the organization. If the top individual in the organization reassures the personnel of their job security and strives to convince them to proactively pursue the bank’s goals, the adaption rate will grow. The higher the adoption rate, the easier and cheaper the transition will be.

Education is fundamental for the understanding of the change program. While the initial message is essential in attracting the attention of the employees, education will ensure that they understand every aspect of the change program (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002). This includes the benefits that will be drawn from the new model and the consequences or impacts it will have on the employees’ income. These issues might reduce enthusiasm but are necessary to avoid future confusion.

This step will be carried out during the first year. Throughout this year sessions will be held on different locations. These sessions will have a simple structure. For instance, each session will focus on one objective of the change program. They will have interacting moments where employees get to ask questions and get feedback from managers, leadership team or other employees. The one-year program will ensure that the importance and justification of the plan is understood. It will also focus on improving morale among the employees. It has been established here that change can lower morale in the work place. These sessions will focus on resolving the afflictions of the employees. Improved morale will translate to improved effectiveness of the plan (Seeger, Sellnow & Ulmer, 2003).

The two performance measures for this step will be morale levels by the end of the 1st year and feedback from employees during the sessions. Measuring performance will allow the leadership team and the managers to alter their tactics if performance tanks or to maintain certain approaches to communication and education if the review is positive. Feedback from the employees is essential in performance review. If the sessions held are open and free, employees will provide their view on issues without prejudice. For this measure to work, the sessions have to be open, such that no employee is disadvantaged for what they express. The information gathered throughout the organization during a number of sessions can be instrumental in determining whether or not the step is effective.

Employee morale is one of the main issues identified by the leadership team. The function of step one is to boost employee morale by fostering dialogue and motivating them during the sessions during the first year. Morale levels can be represented in various aspects of work. These include, employees’ time management, their work quality and quantity and their contribution to the entire organization. Morale is an appropriate measure for effectiveness of communication and education stage. It also provides an idea of how the organization can boost morale. Since measuring morale involves several parameters, the organization can determine which of these it can change to improve morale.

3.5 Installing Credit Scoring Software

The credit scoring software identified by the leadership team is crucial to the changes being instituted by Cowboy bank. The software is expected to disrupt all activities within the bank. Therefore, installing the software is an essential part of the change plan. This step will involve more than just installation. The installation will involve three steps: Acquiring necessary hardware, installing software in new hardware and training the users on how to utilize it (Markus, 2004).

The model of the bank is changing. The loan officers who were stationed in the branches will now be sales people, carrying with them laptops and other equipment. The bank will therefore have to purchase laptops for each of the field officers. The second step will be installing the credit scoring software onto these machines. However, unlike just any other software, banking software requires a higher level of sophistication (Volkoff, Strong & Elmes, 2007). Networking is important for credit checkups. Therefore, the bank will have to invest in improvement of the current network or a new one. Either way, before the new software is useful, the network has to be set up. After setting up the network and securing it, the credit software is installed all the new machines. The final step is to educate the intended users on how to effectively use the software for the benefit of the customers. The laptops and software are only useful to the organization when all the relevant personnel can utilize them.

This stage will be initiated in the 1st year and run through to the second year. The effective implementation of this part of the plan will enable the rest of the plan run through. A majority of the other actions are based on the implementation of the software. Once this is done, other steps can be taken towards completion of the program.

The software’s performance is measured by how it does in predicting loan repayment. This means, how accurate is in determining whether an individual should be given a loan or not and how many accurate predictions it has made. Its performance can also be measured by its vulnerability to sabotage. The financial market sometimes elicits criminal actions such sabotage of financial systems. The system is said to be of high performance if it is accurate in predicting loan repayment and has had few to none breaches in security (Avgerou, 2000). The leadership team will be accountable for the execution of this step in the organization.

3.6 Winding up branch operations

A major effect of the organizational change is that more than 200 branches will be closed down. Winding down a branch of a lending institution involves a complex number of operations. The books of accounting have to be balanced, other records such as customer records have to be consolidated and customers have to be informed of the impending change in location. These actions fall under the general winding up. Perhaps the most vital of these activities is customer communication. Certain disappearance of a financial institution can raise questions among the public. A considerable number of Cowboy bank’s customers are used to the branches for their financial transactions. This step has an imperative role of retaining customers by ensuring information reaches each one in proper time.

Another aspect of winding down a branch is accountability (Lapsley & Pallot, 2000). The managers have to show all the consolidated accounting records for current financial period. Failure to provide such records would be cause for job termination. This exercise will take place during the first year.

Performance review of this action will be based on the accountability levels exhibited and the time spent closing down the excess branches. Customer feedback will also be used to determine if the yearlong exercise has borne any fruit. To ensure that this exercise is carried out efficiently, each branch winding down will be carried out by the managers assigned to each.

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