Why – Oh, Why! – is Organizational Change So Hard?

If you work in HR or in some management or leadership capacity at your company and if you’ve ever been part of a committee charged with some form of “organizational change management” at your firm, we don’t have to tell you plain fraught such a task can be.

Few of us like change. Even fewer of us at work like change and if we by chance do like change, well, most of our colleagues certainly do not. Nope. Not having it. We’ve always done it this way. Put it back the way it was before.

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Why do humans pretty much abhor change? Because we don’t like the unknown (better to deal with the devil you know than the devil you don’t). In addition, change means uncertainty: the suggested change could work, but it also could not and humans are hardwired to dislike uncertainty: it’s stressful!

What’s more, when it comes to organizational change many people worry it could affect them in negative ways, ways such as:

  • A loss of status or job security.
  • Fear of the unknown (as mentioned above).
  • Fear of failure (employees worry the change may mean they’re not up to the task of any new projects or duties for which they’ll be responsible).

So how can your company make organizational change easier? Take a look below for some ideas.

  1. Start a conversation. And then listen. Really

Decide which areas of your company or department could use some change and then look at them closely. Talk to members of your company/that department and get their take on what changes you think need to take place.

If you see one sub-set of your company or department that’s doing something great and you think you’d like to expand upon it, bring it up and then listen. Ask for feedback and listen some more. See what insights you can glean.

Now that you have your feedback, let everyone you talked to – or who answered a survey – know what you’ve learned. See what common threads popped up in different responses to your queries. Don’t neglect the “outliers” – those comments that may take you in a slightly different direction – they may be worth pursuing.

  1. Plan but make sure the plan is broken into steps.

Small and steady change is better than massive modifications that take place all at once.

  1. Share your vision.

Talk about how the proposed changes will improve your company. Explain how and why they will do so. Most importantly, show your employees how the proposed changes will make their lives better (place the emphasis on them, not on how it will make your business better). Remember, they are nervous that any change will affect them adversely.

  1. Communicate, communicate and then, when you think everyone understands exactly what’s happening and when, communicate some more.

You really can’t tell people too much when it comes to changes in their workplace. Remember: they are stressed. They are worried. They may be excited but there’s no certainty that change will be a success. Give them information. Tons of information. Accurate information. Answer their questions (even if they’ve been asked hundreds of times before).

  1. Thank people. Keep thanking them.

Organizational change takes time. You should thank employees once the change is complete, but you should thank them regularly during the process. Announce when milestones have been met successful. Name individuals, if possible, and work hard to name as many people as possible.

Many organizational changes involve new projects, projects for which your company may not want to bring on full-time employees until the change is complete. If so, consider bringing on skilled temporary workers as needed. Contact the Helpmates office nearest you to learn more. We look forward to being of service.

4 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy at Work

It’s unfortunate but it happens to all of us at least once in our working lives: we really dislike our job. As in, we really, really, REALLY dislike it! Hate is not a too-forceful description of how we feel about our job.

In fact, if at least one of the following four scenarios apply to you, chances are good you may be seriously thinking of breaking up with your job.

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  1. The commute is too long.

How long is too long? Studies show that anyone with a 30-minute or longer commute one way is pretty much miserable. Not only can such long commutes wreak havoc on your health, it also messes with your family life: taking a job that means you give up seeing your friends/family on a regular basis means you’d need to earn “$133,000 just to make up for the lack of happiness.” (Note that the linked post was written in 2004; how much more income would it take to make up for your long-commute misery today?)

Of course, in this scenario, it’s not your job you hate (necessarily), it’s the commute. Still, it’s time to find work with a shorter commute.

  1. Your co-workers/boss are idiots.

Granted, they probably aren’t idiots, but you’ve come to see them that way. They also probably didn’t “start out” as idiots either, but as nice people who, as time has gone on, moved from “nice new co-worker who invited me to lunch on my first day” to “annoying woman who always wants to eat with me and looks so hurt when I turn her down because she talks about her kids SO much.”

And your boss is a jerk.

Seriously. If you and your boss don’t get along (and we’re being nice when we call the boss the jerk; it could be you, after all), life is too short to be miserable. It’s time to move on (and look at why you and your boss don’t get along and try to figure out how to do better with the next boss).

  1. No one notices your good work and you’re not rewarded for it.

If you’re working hard, if you’re solving the problems you were hired to solve and you’re doing so well you should be recognized for it and rewarded. Yes. Definitely. Smart companies know this. If your company isn’t acknowledging and rewarding you, it’s not smart. You’re smart; move on.

  1. You’re not able to use your talent to the best of your ability/no chance for upward mobility/career development.

It’s something of a no-duh finding, but IBM recently found that 81 percent of workers are happier on the job when the work they do makes effective use of their abilities and skills. The reverse also applies: if you feel your job is a dead end, offering you no way to use your talent or grow in the position (opportunity for advancement), you tend to be….unhappy.

If the idea of going to work makes you cringe each and every morning, it may be time to make a change. Helpmates can help: take a look at our current temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities and, if something piques your interest, follow the instructions on the job description and apply and/or visit one of our locations.

Busting Freelancer Myths

Do you think freelancers/independent contractors are good just for “quick fix” projects? You may want to think again because these types of professionals can be a great way to take advantage of their skills without committing to them full time. What’s more, it’s not true that any freelancer worth his or her hourly fee wouldn’t consider a longer-term freelance position: freelancing can be up and down income-wise and having a long-term project with a steady paycheck can be very attractive.

In addition, as the independent contractor works with you, you no doubt trained him in your processes and procedures. Why lose all that “cultural knowledge” after just a few weeks when chances are good that his skills could be used elsewhere, on another project and/or in another department?

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That’s just one myth. Take a look below for three additional freelancer/independent contractor myths and then watch how we bust each of them, below.

  1. Independent contractors aren’t for the important stuff. They’re there to take some of the strain off regular employees so that regular staff can do the “mission critical” work.

Hello!  Independent contractors may have high-level skills that are better than your current employees! After all, they have to stay on top of new technologies and strategies – their very livelihood depends on it!

  1. Independent contractors are lazy: they freelance so they can take afternoons off and go to the beach.

You know it and we know it: working as an hourly or salaried employee means you often don’t work hard. You get paid when you’re sick, when you take a vacation, when you decide you’re “just not feeling it” today, so you don’t give it your all on the task at hand and you know you still will be paid the same.

An independent contractor? If he doesn’t produce what his client wants, he doesn’t get paid. He isn’t paid to attend meetings (unless he builds that time into his hourly rate). He doesn’t take vacations (unless he works double time for more than a week before in order to get all of his deliverables….delivered).

What’s more, chances are great that a freelancer can do more in an hour than a regular employee can. Because he often has to.

So this idea that you bring in an independent-contractor for busy work? Chances are great that your employees already are overwhelmed and can’t handle their usual workload. A freelancer – after just a few days in training in “how you do things here” – has a very good chance of becoming instrumental in completing an important project or meeting a critical deadline.

  1. Freelancers will charge far too much for a project.

Yes, they will charge an hourly rate higher than what you pay your employees who perform the same tasks. That’s because the independent contractor probably doesn’t work a total of eight hours a day on billable work: there’s self-marketing to do, administrative work, invoicing, etc. It’s all work, but it’s not something for which he can invoice you. He only charges for the time it takes him to actually work on your project, not for his business’ administrative tasks.

What’s more, he’s responsible for his healthcare, the full amount of Social Security taxes, purchasing equipment, and other office necessities, etc. You, happily, are not.


As terrific as independent contractors are, they do come with special rules of engagement: you can’t force them to work on your project where you want (in your office) and when you want (between 2-5 p.m., for example). Do so and you’re headed down the sticky-wicket trail toward a lawsuit from the independent contractor claiming you controlled him as an employee but you didn’t treat him like an employee (hello, benefits and PTO!)

So if you’ve thought of bringing in an independent contractor or two and are worried about what you can and can’t do with a freelancer, consider the alternative, a temporary specialist from Helpmates with the same skills.

Contact the office nearest you and tell us the skills and background you need for your project. We look forward to hearing from you!


Are You Really Overqualified or is it Age Discrimination?

You’re 43. You’ve been laid off or you’ve decided to look for another position. You start networking and even applying for opportunities you find interesting. You get a few interviews (but it feels as if they are fewer in number than they were when you last looked for work at age 37). But offers? They aren’t coming. And you get a feeling, one that you can’t quite put your finger on, but it sorta, kinda feels as if interviewers and hiring managers think you’re too old.

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At 43.

Of course, they don’t say you’re too old, because age discrimination is illegal. Instead they something such as “with your considerable experience, we wonder if you’d be bored in this position,” hinting – but not outright saying – that you may be “overqualified.” Which often does mean “too old.”

So while age discrimination supposedly is a no-no, why are you still hearing that you have too much experience? More importantly,  what can you do about it? For some answers, take a look below.

There’s always the chance that you are, indeed, overqualified. If you keep hearing this over and over again, take a look at the job descriptions for the openings to which you’re applying. If the tasks you’ll be performing and the skills you need to do those jobs really are something you can do with your eyes closed and while walking backwards, perhaps you should aim higher.

But what if the skills/tasks would be something of a do-able reach for you? What if they exactly match your skill set and background? Chances are it’s not because you’re overqualified: it could well be because they consider you “too old.”

We won’t go into the trouble people over the age of 40 and 50 have when it comes to finding work. And we won’t even touch the difficulty people over 60 have (these links speak plenty on their own). Instead, we’ll offer some tips to help you combat ageism in your job search.

  1. Don’t list ALL of your jobs on your resume.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter what anyone did 15 or 20 years ago; it matters what you’ve done lately, so list only those positions from the past 10 or 15 years (maybe 20 if you’ve been at one employer that long, but highlight what you did for that employer for the last 10 years or so).

We know you don’t want to lie, so under “additional experience” mention different “special projects” you worked on.

  1. Reach directly out to hiring managers.

We’ve touched on this before, and the link above also recommends this tactic. Find the contact information of the position’s hiring manager and reach out. Many hiring managers will at least look over the resumes of those people who reach out to them.

  1. Show energy and enthusiasm in the job interview.

Many younger hiring managers believe older candidates have less energy and are waiting to just coast along in their next (“final?”) job so you want to exude vibrancy and energy.  You could try to hide your age, but that can be difficult and there’s always the chance you could try too hard), but you can show enthusiasm and dynamism. If you work out several days a week or hike frequently, etc., don’t be afraid to mention this when an opening appears in the job interview (such as if the interviewer asks you about your hobbies).

  1. You don’t need to highlight your Microsoft Office skills.

Knowing them is considered a given today and highlighting them could add a bit of the fuddy-duddy to you. Instead, if the position requires certain higher level technological skills, highlight them, especially if they are specific tech skills.

  1. Consider looking for work at smaller companies.

Larger companies tend to hire and promote from within. In addition, smaller companies tend to have fewer applicants. Always a good thing, no matter what your age.

  1. Think about working some temporary positions.

The longer you’ve worked, the higher the salary you’re seeking (typically) and higher salaried positions do tend to be longer to come by, no matter what your age. If you’re finding that your job search is taking longer than you anticipated, think about contacting one of our Helpmates offices and registering for temporary assignments with us. Remember, many temporary assignments do turn into regular, full-time positions.

Photo courtesy Thomas Hafeneth/Unsplash.com.

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