Managers & Supervisors

Change Management

In today’s work environment, the ability to manage change effectively is a critical competency for managers and supervisors.   Many changes can affect the way we do business such as new technologies and systems, retirements and succession planning, new policies and procedures, reorganizations, and new business processes.  As a result, managers and supervisors need to personally adjust to the changes, assist staff in the transition process of change, be champions for the change, incorporate the change in their departments, and make sure that staff can successfully navigate through the new way of doing things.  

A key UC Core Competency for both managers and staff is Innovation and Change Management.  Supervisors should consider each employee’s demonstration of innovation, adaptability, cooperation and flexibility when evaluating staff performance.  However, supervisors must first provide sufficient support for employees as they transition through changes at work.

Tips for Managers & Supervisors

  • Before you can help an employee adapt to change, think about your own reactions to changes.  Be aware that your behavior about a change can affect the behavior and reactions that your staff will have about the change.
  • Find out about the changes on campus that may affect your department.  Ask questions, ask for clarification, and check the applicable campus websites regularly for new information.
  • Communicate often, clearly and honestly with your employees about the changes that are taking place at work.  It is ok to say “I don’t know” if you still need more information about a specific change.  It is not ok to assume that your employees know as much as you might about what is going on.
  • When you are communicating about a change, explain what is changing, why it is changing, how it is changing, and when it is changing.  You should also emphasize what is not changing so staff will know what will stay the same for them.
  • We each process change in our own way and at our own pace, so understand that your employees may experience shock, denial, anger, resistance, and fear.  On the other hand, employees may experience excitement, eagerness, and a willingness to adapt quickly.  Take the time to discuss these reactions with your employees and acknowledge that they are all normal reactions. 
  • Be supportive of each employee and provide them with the resources they need to transition through changes in a manner that best fits their learning style.  Understand that it may take time for employees to be comfortable and confident with the new way of doing things.
  • Encourage your team to work together to learn more about the change and how it will affect them.  Give them the time and freedom to explore the new change.  Encourage them to take training to learn more about the change. 
  • Celebrate small wins as you transition through change.

HR Change Management Resources

Our campus is experiencing a significant amount of change right now and for the foreseeable future.  Human Resources has a variety of resources available to help managers and supervisors manage their own reactions to change and effectively lead others through change.   In addition to instructor-led training, managers and supervisors can contact Human Resources for the following services:

HR Change Management Training

Human Resources offers a wide range of classes and workshops that focus on or include an emphasis on best practices for change management and business transformation. 

Recommended courses for managers & supervisors include:

Recommended courses to assist all staff with managing their own reactions to change include:

  • Supervisory Certificate Program
    • Dealing With Organizational Change             
    • Coaching For Improved Work Performance
    • Making Teams Work
    • Leadership Skills
    • Supervisor Institute
    • Employee Relations Solutions:  Help for Managers & Supervisors
  • Gaucho U Certificate Program
    • Whole Brain Model
    • Change Management – How You and Your Cohort Can Ignite Change
    • The Leadership Challenge

Check for current class offerings this quarter in the HR Department-Wide Training Schedule.

Additional Resources

lynda.com provides online courses for a more general understanding of change fundamentals.  (Note:  UCSB Staff have free access to Lynda.com courses.  Go to the Lynda.com link for more information.)

Embracing Change – This brief course introduces supervisors and staff to techniques for coping with workplace change.  The course complements existing HR classes and focuses on positive ways to personally respond during change events. 

Leading Change – This course introduces leaders of change initiatives to the transitional (people) side of change management.  The course reviews various types of organizational change, why change efforts fail, and how to address resistance to change.  The course also teaches about the 5-Phase Model of Change for addressing stakeholder concerns, making collaborative decisions, and communicating appropriately during a workplace change initiative.