The Retour vers le Futur project that was implemented in Novotel gained different responses from its staff. Initially, most of the staff members were not quite motivated to do the project. They just wanted to wait and see and do it afterwards. Later on, those staff members started to understand how they should change their work routines and became more motivated to greet the project. What has happened in Novotel was that the process of motivating the employees, by the essence of the work itself, was going rather slow.
The cause of this situation was that the general managers had some difficulties in convincing the staff members about how the project would be. The staff members needed to experience the change of their work routines and then realized what they would accomplish by greeting the Retour vers le Futur project. If only the general managers could convince the staff members from the beginning, the motivating process would be faster since the staff members would had understood the goals of the project before they did the changing work routines.
The organizational change that happened in Novotel was forced by both the internal and external sources. The external factor was the market changes, where most of other companies had already adopted similar strategies with Novotel’s. The internal factor was the managerial behavior, in term that the behavior had lost connection with the roots of Novotel and the creative spirit of the founders. It happened because of the rapid expansion and the addition of many new employees. According to Kotter’s theory, organizations should follow eight sequential stepsto overcome problems that may happen in leading an organizational change.
The steps are establishing a sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change vision, empowering broad-based action, generating short-term wins, consolidating gains and produce more change, and anchoring new approaches in the culture. In Novotel case, the second step, which involves creating a cross-functional, cross-level group of people with enough power to lead the change, was not followed adequately. There was no formal training for the general managers that supposedly could help them in leading the change more efficiently.
In Novotel case, generally, we can say that the Retour vers le Futur project, eventually, could work pretty well in directing the organization into the better way. However, there were still some problems that supposedly could be eliminated. First, the difficulties to convince most of the staff members that the project would work, and to motivate the to greet the project. This problem was related to the resistance to change due to the fear of unknown. It means that when innovative changes are introduced without warning, affected employees become fearful of the implications. This problem can be solved by appointing transition manager that charged with keeping all relevant parties adequately informed.
In Novotel, this responsibility was given to the general managers. The effort of informing the relevant parties should has become easier and more effective if the general managers were trained to do this special task. They should have used better ways in introducing the project. It can be done by providing as much information as possible to the staff members about the change, informing the employees about the rationale of the changes, conducting meetings to address questions regarding the change, and providing opportunity to discuss how the change might affect the staff members.
The second problem was the organization decline that was caused by the external and internal sources. In this case, the company lost its competitive advantage and failed to offer the better value to customers. This should have not happened if Novotel were able to keep innovating, so they would be able to offer superior customer value to the customers. The innovation could be related to any part of the company, such as the service, the facilities, the promotion, the price, and so on. By doing the innovation constantly, Novotel should be able to maintain its position as the market leader of hospitality industry in Europe.
Kreitner and Kinicki (2004), Organizational Behavior, 6th ed. New York, Mc Graw-Hill The other problem was the lack of training for the elements of the organization that were given certain critical role in leading the organizational change. As mentioned before, the general managers did not get any formal training in introducing the Retour vers le Futur project to the staff members. Thus, the solution that would be appropriate to solve this problem is providing the specified training programs to help the organization’s members adapt with the new condition of the organization and increase their skill and knowledge so that they can do the changing work routines effectively and efficiently.