4 Organizational Change Questions Employees Want Answered

4 Organizational Change Questions Employees Want Answered
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

Reaction to Change
Do you get freaked out at the prospect of organizational change? Change management consulting experts know that you’re not alone. In fact, the fear of change is so common that there is even a phobia named for it: metathesiophobia. You need to be ready for the change questions employees want answered.

Even positive organizational change causes stress. Knowing this, how can you as a business leader manage change in the workplace so that employee reactions are moderated and cause minimal anxiety? The best way is to be prepared to address four fundamental organizational change questions employees want answered.

Organizational Change Questions Employees Want Answered
As soon as change is announced, employees typically react in ways that range from panic to resignation and inertia. Most not involved in designing the desired change will feel threatened to some degree, and, according to data from our change management simulation, there are four fundamental change questions employees want answered:

  1. Why do we need to change?
  2. What specifically does it mean for me and my team?
  3. What’s in and out of my control?
  4. Will I still have a job where I can contribute in a meaningful way?

Each question feeds a desire to reduce the uncertainty of the effect of change. Most employees want predictability, a sense of control, and insights into how relationships, turf, influence, status, structures, personal identity, comfortability, and knowledge will be affected.

Leading Change
It’s a change leader’s job to keep the business moving in the right direction and to minimize disruption whenever possible. When there’s an urgency for change, leaders need to know how to guide their employees along a healthy path that shifts from change resistance to change commitment and control.

What We Know Works
Employees fear and resist change that they do not understand or, once understood, do not accept that the benefits of change outweigh the costs of change. Successful change leaders need to explain the business case for change so that employees understand the reason why the change is fundamentally necessary. There are no shortcuts.

  1. Be honest and transparent about why you believe the change is in the best interests of the team, the business, and your customers.
  2. Actively involve employees as early in the change process as possible.  Be crystal clear about what changes are mandated, guided, or autonomous.
  3. Empathize with employees’ concerns, make it easy for employees to provide feedback, and answer as many of their questions as you can.
  4. Guide employees toward thinking about reframing their questions. Rather than fearing what’s next, give them as much information as you have about the pace of change and how it is likely to affect them. Rather than allowing them to feel powerless, help them plan one step at a time toward the change goal. Rather than letting them worry about changed relationships and influence, help them find meaningful opportunities in their future.

The Bottom Line
Organizational change can be invigorating and rife with new possibilities. Without denying your employees’ natural resistance to change, guide them with honesty, transparency, and empathy toward a sense of control and recognition of unexpected possibilities.

To learn more about how to help employees through organizational change, download How to Mobilize, Design, and Transform Your Change Initiative

Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance