Strategic change management practices and performance of staff at national hospital insurance fund, Kenya
Strategic change management has become a worldwide and a compulsory practice. This is because it enables organizations to be responsive to environmental needs and changes that affect their operations. Successful organizations recognize the importance of strategy as a tool in management and realize that their survival is dependent on a how well they adopt new strategies or enhance existing strategies in an attempt to respond to changes brought about by the turbulent environment. The world today is going through massive change and this is indicated by organizations redesigning, restructuring, merging and downsizing. As a result of these changes, strategic change management has become increasingly of interest to the management of organizations. The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is the oldest government insurance scheme in Africa and in Kenya. NHIF was set up in 1966 under Cap 255 of the Laws of Kenya as a department under the Ministry of Health. Its establishment was based on the recommendation of Session Paper no. 10 of 1965: African Socialism and its Application to Planning in Kenya. The original act was revised and currently, the Fund derives its mandate from the NHIF Act no. 9 of 1998. As the primary provider of health insurance in Kenya its mandate is to provide access to quality and affordable health care for all Kenyans. NHIF membership is compulsory for all salaried employees but optional to those who are not employed. Having existed for long, the organization has been undergoing and implementing some strategic changes. This study sought to determine the strategic change management practices adopted by NHIF and how the changes affected staff performance. The study applied case study research design where only one organization was involved. The study used both primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected through face to face interviews using interview guide with top and middle level management from various departments at NHIF. Secondary data was collected through review of the contents of various relevant publications and reports at National Hospital Insurance Fund including the Strategic Plan, strategic review and other relevant materials. Collected data was analyzed using content analysis and presented in prose format. The study established that some of the strategic change management practices adopted by NHIF included: changes in the top management like appointments of new CEO and board of Governors, introduction and upgrade of technology, change in polices and rules and organization restructuring. NHIF used several communication modes to pass the message of change across all stakeholders. The change management program had several objectives to operate more effectively and efficiently, to offer quality services and to deliver on its Vision and Mission. The various strategic change management practices adopted had more positive than negative impact on staff performance thus was necessary to be implemented. The organization faced challenges during the change management process which include resistances to change due to lack of clear understanding of need for change. However these challenges were dealt with through trainings and proper communication on the need for change. The study concluded that strategic change management practices adopted by NHIF were indeed important and necessary for the progress and quality service delivery by the organization. Finally the study recommend that the organization should strive and invest more on staff training to be able to acquires the necessary skills to implement, sustain and manage the change program.